Leeds United have a man at the helm who has previously been hailed as one of the best coaches in the world.
Marcelo Bielsa is undoubtedly one of the best managers Leeds have had in recent history, and he’s already guided them to their best league finish since 2004.
You probably wouldn’t find many United fans who would swap Bielsa for anyone, but one man Leeds were looking at before appointing the Argentine was arguably the better option.
Phil Hay was talking on the latest edition of The Phil Hay Show after a fan asked him about an article he wrote for FourFourTwo last year.
In his piece, Hay detailed how one coach made the wrong impression by failing to name a single player in the squad, and now we finally know who that man was.
“The coach I’m told was Claudio Ranieri,” he said (The Phil Hay Show 20/2/20 51:30).
“You shouldn’t mistake that answer by thinking that Ranieri was about to take charge at Leeds or was seriously considering it.
“He was on the list when Leeds were looking at replacing Heckingbottom, but it was one of those names that was highly unlikely, but you could have said the same about Bielsa really, and in the end Bielsa did and Ranieri was a no-go.”
It’s interesting to think of an alternative reality where Ranieri is the boss at Elland Road.
The Italian’s CV is arguably better than Bielsa’s, and while Pep Guardiola has claimed that the Argentine is the greatest coach, Ranieri was officially recognised as the best as he picked up the FIFA award for the Best Men’s Coach for 2016.
Ranieri masterminded one of the greatest seasons in Premier League history when winning the title with Leicester, and he also has experience managing some of the world’s biggest clubs in the shape of Chelsea, Juventus and Inter Milan.
While nobody can complain about the job Bielsa has done at Elland Road so far, you can’t help but wonder whether or not United would have already been in the Premier League had they appointed Ranieri.