Leeds United considering Javi Gracia for interim manager post

Javi Gracia poses with the Barclays Manager of the Month Award for August 2018 – Leeds United considering Javi Gracia for interim manager post – Tony Marshall/Getty Images

Leeds United are looking to appoint a head coach until the end of the season with former Watford manager Javi Gracia emerging as a strong candidate.

It remains to be seen whether the Spaniard would be interested in taking the job on a short-term basis – and whether this would be a deal-breaker for Leeds – but sources suggested he is the “calibre” of manager the relegation-threatened club are considering.

Leeds are under increasing pressure to name a successor to Jesse Marsch, particularly after losing Saturday’s league game at Everton which left them in the bottom three.

Under-21 coach Michael Skubala has been in charge since Marsch was sacked with two defeats following on from the encouraging draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Leeds have continued to consider candidates and Gracia is available after being sacked by Qatar club Al Sadd last June. He is interested in a return to English football. The 52-year-old was with Watford from January 2018 to September 2019, taking them to the FA Cup final but never really recovered from the 6-0 defeat by Manchester City.

Leeds are adamant that Carlos Corberán was never a candidate for the job with the Spaniard having signed a new contract with West Bromwich Albion after the links surfaced.

However they were rebuffed in their efforts to hire Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola, despite being prepared to pay the €7 million (£6.2 million) compensation to release him from his contract. Leeds spoke to former Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder but he was ruled out before he was spotted at Elland Road for the game against Manchester United, which he had asked to attend, and where he was kept away from the club’s directors.

Leeds then announced that Skubala would remain in charge for the “upcoming fixates” with sporting director Victor Orta having continued to carry out interviews, mainly via Zoom.

Leeds face Southampton, who had hoped to hire Marsch but could not agree a deal, on Saturday and may well have a new manager in place by then.

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