Once recommended by Pep: Ideal Bielsa replacement could be right under Leeds’ nose – opinion

This article is part of Football FanCast’s Opinion series, which provides analysis, insight and opinion on any issue within the beautiful game, from Paul Pogba’s haircuts to League Two relegation battles…

The leaves have only just started falling from the trees but talk of Marcelo Bielsa’s future at Elland Road is back.

Leeds have sat in fifth place over the international break and the Argentine has come under fire from supporters recently over his team selection.

Just one win from their previous four matches tells a sorry story, as does their inability to find the back of the net on a regular basis.

Steven Gerrard was touted as a possible replacement last week. The Rangers boss was thought of as someone that might be able to replace Bielsa if he’d left over the summer.

As it happens, the 64-year-old signed a new deal but that hasn’t stopped the Leeds hierarchy from supposedly keeping tabs on Gerrard.

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However, what if the Whites already had their successor right in front of them.

Bielsa has a vast array of staff available to him and his bench is often flooded with coaches and backroom members ready and willing to offer him advice.

It’s his right-hand man, Carlos Corberan, that may be best placed to take over if and when he departs.

The assistant to Bielsa and the club’s U23 manager, he’s very much the understudy, a figure being moulded as a future successor if Leeds want him to be.

He has done a sterling job with the youth side and took them through an initial five-game unbeaten run at the start of the season.

Corberan has helped to bridge the gap quite brilliantly between academy football and the senior team with various individuals making the step up.

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Last term saw Jack Clarke make a big impact, so much so that he earned a £10m move to Tottenham, while chances have been handed to an array of youngsters since he and Bielsa took charge.

Jamie Shackleton, Leif Davis, Alfie McCalmont and Mateusz Bogusz have all been handed opportunities and last season the same could be said for the likes of Aapo Halme, Clarke Oduor, Jordan Stevens and Kun Temenuzhkov.

The Spaniard has helped to develop their games hugely and his knowledge and expertise of how Bielsa likes to play has been handed down to those in the U23s.

Working alongside someone as experienced as Bielsa and then getting to put it into practise almost immediately is something that’s bound to help – especially when he was regularly in charge of some senior figures in the early stages of the campaign too.

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He worked alongside Helder Costa and Eddie Nketiah, as well as providing minutes to Barry Douglas and Gaetano Berardi.

On that evidence, it certainly isn’t beyond the realms of fantasy to suggest the 36-year-old could be a successor.

He’s worked under Manuel Pellegrini and Ernesto Valverde in the past at Villarreal as well and has even received a recommendation from Pep Guardiola before moving to Saudi Arabia.

Speaking about his time in Spain previously, Corberan noted: “There was a link between Guardiola and the Spanish national team and the style of Villarreal was in the same direction.

“It gave me new ideas about how you can train teams and what the best methodology is to have one style of play. It’s something that goes inside of you. It changes your mind and changes your feelings towards football.”

That tells you all you need to know about his abilities and the style that comes with him.

Even at a young age, Leeds could have their next manager right under their nose. The pedigree is certainly there and he already knows the club and the players inside out.

It would be a smart move to promote him if needed.

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