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Ambitious Leeds United set to get first-choice Bielsa as new boss

ARRIVING SOON: Coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images.
ARRIVING SOON: Coach Marcelo Bielsa. Picture: Laurens Lindhout/Soccrates/Getty Images.
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MARCELO BIELSA is ready to accept Leeds United’s offer of a contract and will become the club’s next head coach.

Sources close to Bielsa confirmed that the 62-year-old intended to sign his deal tonight and end lengthy negotiations to take charge at Elland Road in one of the most high-profile appointments ever made by the Yorkshire club.

Leeds began pursuing an ambitious bid to lure Bielsa to England a month ago and have been on the verge of securing his signature since the early part of this week.

United officials, including owner Andrea Radrizzani, flew to meet Bielsa in Argentina last month after the club resolved to sack former head coach Paul Heckingbottom.

A salary deal - believed to be worth in excess of £2m a year - was put in place early on and Leeds have been working to finalise a deal which will make Bielsa the highest paid coach in their 99-year history.

The former Marseille and Athletic Bilbao manager’s appointment is still subject to a the receipt of a work permit and United will also be required to secure visas for the large backroom team which Bielsa plans to appoint.

Leeds have been working to finalise a deal which will make Bielsa the highest paid coach in their 99-year history

But Leeds and Radrizzani have landed their clear first choice to replace Heckingbottom, securing one of the world’s most innovative and respected coaches.

Bielsa has been out of work since being sacked by Lille last December and is coming to English football for the first time in a managerial career spanning almost 30 years.

The Argentinian is expected to fly to Leeds on Saturday with pre-season training set to begin on June 25. Bielsa wanted to bring that date forward by seven days but the delay in finalising his appointment prevented an early start.