Leeds axe director of football Victor Orta as Sam Allardyce siren calls for ‘four cup finals’

Will Ford
Leeds director of football Victor Orta watches his team from the stands

Leeds have parted company with director of football Victor Orta by mutual consent – and manager Javi Gracia could soon follow him out of the exit door, with Sam Allardyce replacing him for the run-in.

This has been a poor season at Elland Road, with the club languishing 17th in the Premier League as only goal difference keeps them out of the relegation zone.

Leeds have lost four in a winless run of five matches and have made the first move of what is shaping up to be a dramatic day in West Yorkshire.

It has been reported that manager Gracia is set to be replaced after just two months in charge, with Allardyce – out of work since being relegated with West Brom in 2021 – the frontrunner to replace him.

Confirmation is expected later in a day that started with departure of divisive director of football Orta.

The Spaniard took up the post at Elland Road in 2017 and helped the West Yorkshire side make their long-awaited return to the Premier League three years later.

But things have gone awry of late and embattled Leeds have confirmed Orta’s exit by mutual consent.

Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said: “I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years.

“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club.

“I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity.

“We have four cup finals left to play this season and, working together, I believe we can survive.”

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Allardyce looks set to be the man charged with overseeing those four matches.

Leeds travel to leaders Manchester City on Saturday, before hosting third-placed Newcastle. A trip to West Ham and an Elland Road encounter with European hopefuls Tottenham rounds out the season.

Allardyce would take charge after suffering his first Premier League relegation with West Brom in 2021, when he left six months into an 18-month contract.

The 68-year-old would be Leeds’ third permanent manager of the season after Jesse Marsch and Gracia.

The latter was given a deal until the end of the season in February, leading Leeds from the bottom three to 13th by winning three of his first six games in charge.

But things unravelled under the former Watford boss during a dreadful April, which saw them lose successive home games to Crystal Palace and Liverpool 5-1 and 6-1 and concede 23 goals.

Sunday’s 4-1 defeat at Bournemouth leaves Leeds 17th and just outside the bottom three on goal difference.