Leeds United are laying down a succession plan for manager Marcelo Bielsa, with the Argentine’s contract expiring at the end of the season.

According to Daily Telegraph, Leeds United have identified Jesse Marsch, Ernesto Valverde, and Carlos Corberan as potential targets if Marcelo Bielsa leaves the club this summer.

Bielsa took over the reins at Leeds United back in 2018 and has turned things around at the club in an admirable fashion. After coming close to clinching promotion in his first year at the club, the Argentine led the Whites back to the Premier League by winning the EFL Championship in 2019/20.

In Leeds’ first season back in the big leagues after 16 years, Bielsa built an exciting, young team that achieved a mid-table finish. Things have not gone all too well for the team this time out, though, as they have been ravaged by injury problems to key players. Following their 3-3 draw against Aston Villa, they are currently 15th in the table, just six points clear of the drop zone.

The Leeds United board has complete faith in Bielsa and is not looking to shake things up despite the problems. However, his contract will run out at the end of the season. The eccentric South American traditionally leaves it until late in the summer to confirm whether he wishes to continue or move on.

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If he decides to call time at Elland Road, Leeds United are preparing for such a scenario and have prepared a three-man shortlist to replace the 66-year-old.

The first name on the list is that of Jesse Marsch. The 48-year-old is currently unattached after his stint with RB Leipzig was cut short due to a poor start to the ongoing campaign. However, the American tactician enjoyed a lot of success with Red Bull Salzburg before his stint in Germany and helped unearth some gems such as Erling Haaland and Patson Daka, among others.

Ernesto Valverde is also in discussion at Leeds. The 58-year-old is also without a club and has been so for over two years now, after being sacked by Barcelona back in January 2020. In his two and a half years with the Blaugrana, Valverde led them to two La Liga titles along with a Copa del Rey and Spanish Super Cup. 

The last name of Leeds’ shortlist is that of Carlos Corberan. The 38-year-old Spaniard is someone that the club know as he worked as the manager of the Under-23 side between 2017 and 2020 while also serving as a technical coach for Bielsa during the time. He left the Whites to join Huddersfield Town in 2020 and has put them in contention for a playoff finish this term after just about surviving relegation last season.

Sporting director Victor Orta is yet to make any approach to the candidates as Leeds still hope that Bielsa continues at the club. But, in case they are forced to look for a new manager, they are keeping themselves prepared.

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