Speaking on the Inside Elland Road podcast, prominent Leeds United pundit Phil Hay has given his verdict on what the future holds for manager Marcelo Bielsa and owner Andrea Radrizzani at Elland Road.
In a Q&A section of the aforementioned podcast, Hay was asked by a fan whether he thought Bielsa and Radrizzani would stick with the Whites if they fail to achieve promotion to the Premier League this season.
On the subject of the Argentine coach’s future, Hay said: “I don’t think Bielsa would stay for another year in the Championship. If it [promotion] doesn’t happen I can’t see him being here next season.”
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As for Italian majority owner Radrizzani, he said: “he consistently says he has a limited shelf life in the Championship and doesn’t want to lose a fortune…He’s always been fairly honest about that and I’ve had the gut feeling that it wouldn’t be a long stint here if Leeds didn’t make it to the Premier League…it’s a fair assumption that he could leave.”
Promotion to the top flight is still very much on the agenda for Leeds this season. They are in the thick of the Championship title race, along with Norwich City and Sheffield United. Leeds have also led the division for much of this campaign.
Falling short of promotion this season would be hard to take for fans. However, the loss of Bielsa as a result would arguably constitute an even greater disappointment.
Since his appointment in the summer, the 63-year-old has utterly transformed the Yorkshire club. Having made relatively few signings, he has taken a squad that finished 13th last season and turned them into title contenders who play scintillating football and give chances to promising youth academy prospects.
If Hay’s instincts that Leeds would lose Bielsa and Radrizzani if they missed out on promotion are correct, then the need to secure a return to the top flight this season becomes more urgent than ever.