Leeds appoint Cyprus title-winning manager

Date published: Thursday 15th June 2017 1:17

Leeds have appointed Thomas Christiansen as their new head coach.

Former APOEL Nicosia boss Christiansen, 44, has been installed as a replacement for Garry Monk, who resigned last month, within the next 24 hours.

The Danish-born former Spain striker steered APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League and to the Cypriot first division title last season, but was released by the club on the same day that Monk departed Elland Road.

Christiansen’s appointment ends Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani’s three-week search for a new head coach.

Monk departed on May 25 after just one season at Elland Road and less than 48 hours after Radrizzani had completed his full takeover of the club.

Leeds narrowly missed out on the play-offs last season and Monk said he was unable to “agree a suitable way for us all to move forward together” after being installed as Middlesbrough’s new manager on June 9.

A long list of possible candidates had been linked with the job, with the likes of Jaap Stam, Aitor Karanka, Fernando Hierro, Alan Pardew and Victor Sanchez featuring among the bookmakers’ favourites.

But Press Association Sport understands Christiansen had been Radrizzani’s top target in the hope that he will have a similar impact on English football as Huddersfield’s David Wagner and new Watford boss Marco Silva.

Christiansen, who won three senior caps for Spain as a player, was signed by Johan Cruyff for Barcelona in 1991 and also had spells at Real Oviedo, Villarreal, Bochum and Hannover. He was the Bundesliga’s top goalscorer while with Bochum in 2003.

He began his coaching career at Al Jazira FC and became head coach at AEK Larnaca in 2014.

Larnaca finished runners-up in Cyprus’ top flight for two successive seasons under Christiansen, who was appointed head coach at APOEL in the summer of 2016.

APOEL won the Cypriot title in his first season in charge and reached the knockout stages of the Europa League for the first time, but his one-year deal was not renewed after they lost out to Apollon Limassol in the cup final.

Radrizzani became joint owner of Leeds alongside Massimo Cellino in January when he acquired 50 per cent of the club’s shares and on May 23 it was announced he had bought the remaining 50 per cent.

The Italian businessman has since made wholesale changes to the management structure at Elland Road, appointing former West Ham managing director Angus Kinnear to the same role at Leeds and Victor Orta as director of football.

Orta had previously worked as head of recruitment at Middlesbrough, while Radrizzani has also added former Real Madrid strategist Ivan Bravo to the club’s board.

Monk’s assistant at Leeds, Pep Clotet, first-team coach James Beattie and goalkeeping coach Darryl Flahavan are all under contract until the end of June.

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