Leeds ‘wanted Conte’ before moving for Bielsa

Date published: Monday 20th August 2018 3:07

Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani claims he wanted Antonio Conte before choosing to pursue Marcelo Bielsa to become the club’s new manager.

Media tycoon Radrizzani says he would have paid the Italian coach €20million to take the reins at Elland Road but, in his eyes, Conte would have made Leeds dead certs for promotion.

The Whites eventually tempted Argentinian coach Bielsa to take the role and the appointment has worked out well so far with Leeds remaining the only Championship side with a 100 per cent record after three games.

Radrizzani, though, has told Gazetta dello Sport that he held talks with several other high profile coaches, including Belgium coach Roberto Martinez and Claudio Ranieri.

“Conte [was on the list] and with him, we would have been certain of promotion to the Premier League,” Radrizzani told the Italian outlet.

“I would even have offered him €20m. Then I interviewed Ranieri who was attracted by our interest, but declined as he was waiting for a call from a top-flight club.

“I even spoke to Martinez, but Belgium were an obstacle.

“At the end of May, I spoke with our director of football [Victor] Orta and he said Bielsa would be ideal, but that it would be impossible [to get him].

“Those words just motivated me even more and we negotiated for a few days then reached an agreement at £3m, which he shares with his staff, and a one year plus one year option as duration.

“We finished negotiations after 10 hours of conversation in Buenos Aires. He’d studied 20 of our games and already knew all the players, including the youngsters.

“It seemed impossible to get him here, but he’s our top player. We are a Premier League club, and even more so with him.”

 

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