Leeds Utd confirm unusual Javi Gracia agreement with final hurdle still to be cleared and new Skubala role revealed
Leeds Utd have confirmed they’ve agreed terms with Javi Gracia who’ll sign a ‘flexible’ contract upon becoming their next manager, though there’s still one hurdle left to clear.
The Whites axed former boss Jesse Marsch on February 6 after a dreadful run of results that returned just two league victories since August.
Leeds pushed to put a successor in place with all haste, though found luring a top class manager to Elland Road worryingly difficult.
Indeed, the likes of Carlos Corberan, Arne Slot and Andoni Iraola all snubbed a move to the relegation-threatened club.
That meant interim boss Michael Skubala took charge for two matches against Man Utd as well as the crunch clash with Everton last weekend.
The damaging 1-0 defeat at Goodison Park heightened the need for a permanent appointment after results elsewhere saw Leeds sink to 19th.
Former Watford boss Javi Gracia emerged as the likeliest contender to take the reins and Leeds Utd have officially confirmed an agreement has been struck.
However, a work permit is yet to be secured and per Leeds expert Phil Hay, Gracia won’t be officially unveiled and conduct his first media duties until that time.
Leeds statement on Javi Gracia
A club statement read: “Leeds United are delighted to announce the club have agreed terms with Javi Gracia to become men’s first team head coach, subject to obtaining a work permit.
“The experienced 52-year-old has agreed a flexible contract at Elland Road.”
The “flexible” contract in question is understood to be valid only until the end of the current campaign. However, Hay previously suggested there may be scope to extend the deal into the 2023/24 campaign if he’s successful in guiding Leeds to safety this term.
Leeds hope Gracia will be in the dugout for another crucial clash at the foot of the table on Saturday. The Whites host Southampton in a 3pm kick-off.
Hay added Gracia will bring his own backroom staff to west Yorkshire, though that won’t be to the detriment of Skubala.
Rather than return to managing the club’s Under-21s, Skubala will he given a coaching role in the first-team. Paco Gallardo will assume responsibility at Under-21 level.
Gracia previously guided Watford to an 11th-placed finish in the 2018-19 campaign in which the Hornets also made it to the FA Cup final.
His main objective at Leeds is crystal clear – avoiding relegation.
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