Marcelo Bielsa is set to leave Leeds after Saturday’s 4-0 home defeat by Tottenham, with the club close to appointing the former RB Leipzig manager Jesse Marsch as his replacement.
Lawyers are in talks over the departure of Bielsa, who has overseen a run of four straight Premier League defeats in which Leeds have conceded 17 goals. The club are firmly in a relegation battle, two points ahead of third-bottom Burnley having played two games more.
Marsch, a former United States midfielder, left Leipzig by mutual consent last December five months after taking charge. He was previously at Red Bull Salzburg, where he won two Austrian league titles and two domestic cups.
Bielsa earned hero status at Leeds by taking the club into the Premier League as champions in 2020, after 16 years away, with an attractive brand of football and enhanced that with a ninth-placed finish last season. But this campaign has been markedly less successful, hampered by injuries to key players such as Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips.
Bielsa, appointed in June 2018, has stuck unwaveringly with the philosophy that has defined his coaching but has been unable to spark an upturn and the team have been worryingly open. The four goals conceded against Tottenham followed six being let in at Liverpool. It had been widely expected that a parting of ways would come in the summer but that process is being accelerated.
The Argentinian had said before the Spurs game that he was “very worried” by results and acknowledged the shortcomings after the match. “No team that goes through the results we have has confidence in the coach,” he said. “I feel backed up by the team in the effort they are giving me. We had a distinctive style, with speed in transitions, and we could defend as a unit. Not now. When we lose the ball we are making it easy for our opponents.”
Marsch started his managerial career with Montreal Impact in 2011 and had a spell at New York Red Bulls before coming to Europe. After working as Ralf Rangnick’s assistant at Leipzig he moved within the Red Bull stable to Salzburg before returning to Leipzig to succeed Julian Nagelsmann. His short tenure ended with the club 11th in the Bundesliga and out of the Champions League.