Next Leeds manager: Javi Gracia to be confirmed today – but short-term deal comes with warning from Troy Deeney
Leeds United will confirm Javi Gracia as the successor to Jesse Marsch on Tuesday – with the Spaniard signing up on an initial deal until the end of the season.
The Whites parted company with Marsch just over two weeks ago and have had Under-21s coach Michael Skubala in charge on a temporary basis. However, with just one point from his three games at the helm, Leeds have stepped up their chase for a new appointment.
And after missing out on a number of candidates, ranging from Arne Slot to Andoni Iraola, Leeds now have their man.
Per The Athletic, Leeds will confirm the appointment of former Watford Gracia as Marsch’s successor on Tuesday.
Out of work since leaving Al Saad in Qatar last June, Gracia interviewed very well with the Leeds board on Monday. And it now seems an agreement has very quickly been reached.
Indeed, the 52-year-old comes in initially until the end of the season. And his first and only mission is to save Leeds from relegation, with Saturday’s loss at Everton leaving Leeds in 19th place. Should he impress and secure Leeds’ safety, talks may well be held to extend his deal into the 2023/24 season.
His first assignment will be at home to Southampton on Saturday, with Leeds two points from safety. A win against the basement boys would prove the perfect tonic for Leeds, who are winless since November 5.
But a defeat will send Leeds to the bottom of the table and in serious peril of losing their Premier League status.
Troy Deeney warns Leeds players about Javi Gracia
Gracia, though, will be eager to make a rapid impression. He led Watford to the 2019 FA Cup final and a tidy 11th-placed finish. However, he was sacked four games into the 2019/20 season after just one point from their first four games.
Prior to that, Gracia had led Malaga to successive top-half finishes in LaLiga. And since Watford, he has also taken charge at Valencia and Al Saad, whom he led to the domestic title.
Gracia will be keen to get a tune from his new players as quickly as possible to steer them to safety.
However, the Whites players have been warned by former Watford favourite Troy Deeney that Gracia is a stickler for discipline.
And any tardiness or misbehaviour will be clamped down on quickly.
“This year the gaffer took charge of how much the fines were,” Deeney told BBC Radio 5 Live back in 2018.
“He’s made it so all the fines are very steep this year and no one is really messing about to be fair so I think everyone likes their money too much.
“The worst one is £100 a minute for being late. You could be on the M25 and you’re sitting there for 35 minutes and its clocking up very quickly.”
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