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Reports: Jesse Marsch the frontrunner to replace Marcelo Bielsa at Leeds

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Jesse Marsch has been waiting for a new opportunity to arise in his managerial career and the American is reportedly on the radar of English Premier League club Leeds United.

Leeds United has listed Marsch as its No. 1 target to replace manager Marcelo Bielsa at season’s end, pending the Argentine does not renew his contract at Elland Road, The Telegraph reported Thursday. Bielsa is in the final months of his current one-year deal he signed with Leeds United last summer and has yet to make a decision regarding his future, according to the reports.

Marsch is currently without a job after being relieved of his duties by Bundesliga club RB Leipzig in December. The former Red Bull Salzburg, New York Red Bulls, and Montreal Impact head coach took over at RB Leipzig in June 2021, but was fired after only 17 matches in charge with the German club eliminated from the UEFA Champions League and struggling for consistency in its domestic schedule.

A former U.S. men’s national team player, Marsch had success in his early move to Europe, leading Red Bull Salzburg to a back-to-back Austrian Bundesliga titles and a pair of Austrian Cups. Marsch also coached current USMNT forward/midfielder Brenden Aaronson, who has previously been linked with a transfer to Leeds United over the past few months.

Bielsa, 66, has been in charge of Leeds United since 2018 and helped the Yorkshire club gain promotion back to the Premier League in 2020. The Lilywhites rolled to 93 points in the 2019-20 season in the Championship before posting a ninth-place finish last season in the Premier League, missing out on European qualification by three points.

Leeds United has struggled for similar consistency this season, currently sitting in 15th place and only six points clear of the relegation zone. Marsch’s tactics are similar to Bielsa’s and could be a smooth transition for the squad, if the American is brought on board.

Comments

  1. Leipzig sold their 2 awesome CBs and replaced them with…no one like the 2 studs they lost. Of course it would be rocky. Then they panicked and bailed. Marsch’s style fits Leeds too

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  2. This makes me a little nervous. Not having faired well in the Bundesliga a jump to the Premier League seems ambitious. Also, bumping around are reports that Armas’ training sessions are “simple” and how poorly Bob Bradley was received at Swansea after his Scandinavian Ligue 2 experiences. It’s going to be a lot harder for a US coach to may head way in Europe than players. An entire team has to buy into a coach while really only a coach has to buy into a player (for the player to have a chance to prove themselves on the pitch). So far only US coaches with Euro backgrounds have managed to have any staying power in only one top league – the Bundesliga. I don’t think it’s a coincidence they both have non-American sounding last names (Italian and German).

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    • Leipzig looked pretty awful vs. Rangers in European play. I don’t know that they have made any progress since Marsch was fired. Marsch was able to get Salzburg to the knockout rounds of the CL, which is an excellent achievement for an Austrian team. I think he has shown his worth and can meet the challenges of the EPL if he has the support of management in getting players he needs. You slight Bob Bradley by relegating him to the Scandanavian second division. It was Stabek in the Norway first division and he took them from out of the money to making the Europa League. While he was national team coach at Egypt, in the middle of a revolution, when many of his players couldn’t play in their domestic league, he won every single game, but one. And for that one loss he was sacked.

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      • I think you’re mixing up Dortmund and Leipzig. Dortmund just got smoked by Rangers.
        And my recollection is that Leipzig were in about 10th place when Marsch got fired, and are now up to 4th. So that is progress. Not to say that they wouldn’t have gotten there under Marsch, but we’ll never know.

    • His reputation won’t improve if he keeps taking whatever gig he can get only to flame out in relegation battles. Then again, he can bounce around Europe and collect those salaries not caring about what USMNT fans think about it. Can’t blame him or his agent for wanting to live the dream and make that $$$. And hey… maybe it could all work out after all.

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      • He’s never taken a job that has led to a relegation battle. Not with Salsburg. Not with Leipzig. And obviously not in MLS.

        Leeds could be a relegation battle. But look at it this way. The expectations are much different, so if he can keep Leeds up, or better yet keep them up comfortably, the fans and ownership may be satisfied. At Leipzig, that wasn’t good enough. They expected top 4 and Champions League.

      • i believe in the haaland theory of slowly climb the ladder and the problem is there had to have been a rung he skipped between RBS in austria and RBL up high in B.1. i said before he coached a game there that it would be a harsh opportunity because you can get fired at a good team for winning…just not as much as before. moyes had a winning record at manu, as did solskjaer. it’s a different set of expectations.

        what we probably need is not a relegation fighter job without much resources but instead a perch with an american owner at midtable, where expectations are not sky high nor resources lacking. and you just get time to show competence.

        let’s also be real, marsch is catapulted to RBL from RBS because he was within the RB umbrella, which is how he was getting either job. the bias problem is real and constrains career choice. you make a bad career choice and they’re like, see, american coaches suck. the solution is what the players have done which is they come over and spread around and enough make themselves known that at least up to some level we get baseline respect.

        it would probably help if we had coaches running teams like crystal palace, bolton, midtable teams, perhaps lower divisions.

      • Never said he did, but could have been clearer I suppose. I just don’t like a potential future where Marsch becomes a perennial stop-gap manager. Right now, he’s our best hope for obtaining some managerial legitimacy across the pond. I don’t see it going well at Leeds, because Leeds isn’t a well-balanced squad. Hoping for the best.

      • Mr Voice,

        “what we probably need is not a relegation fighter job without much resources but instead a perch with an american owner at midtable, where expectations are not sky high nor resources lacking. and you just get time to show competence.”

        I don’t think Jesse gives a rat’s ass what “we” need. Nor should he.

        By the way, American owners fire American coaches all the time, for all sorts of reasons. To think that Jesse’s passport would save him from the chopping block is insane.

        Jesse is not on a cross in Europe to die for your sins.

        He has his own career choices to think about.

        He was unashamedly fast tracked by RB. If he had been managing the Rapids or the Revs do you think he gets the same opportunities? I sincerely doubt it.

        RB clearly regarded him as precocious, and groomed him for bigger things setting him up as an assistant to be mentored by Rangnick and then boy genius Nagelsmann, a plan that got cut short by his premature leaving for Salzburg.

        It hasn’t worked out exactly as they hoped but it’s hardly been a failure. Jobs not working out is a necessary feature of most manager’s lives. Jesse and RB don’t owe the “USMNT fans” a thing. He’s 48 and just getting started.

        ” i believe in the haaland theory of slowly climb the ladder”

        That doesn’t apply to everyone least of all Haaland.

        He signed for Salzburg from Molde in January of 2019.
        Then he signed for Dortmund in January of 2020. One year.
        He is only 21 and already perhaps the best center forward in the world.

        In his two seasons at Dortmund he has missed 26 games due to injury. .

        How much does that have to do with him “slowly” climbing the ladder?

        That’s a LOT of games

        His career is less meteoric than some recent phenoms but in the greater scheme of things saying that Haaland is “slowly climbing the ladder” as a matter of choice is comical.

        And you are comparing players to managers and that doesn’t really work . It’s not the same job. Different time frames and different skill sets apply.

        Jesse has got a long way to go before he even begins to approach the level of managerial expertise that Bielsa has.

        But that doesn’t mean Jesse can’t take over Leeds and do well right now.

        There are two hot young kid coaches in the BL right now, Bayern’s Nagelsmann (34) and Hoffenheims’ Hoeness (39) who are doing well and aren’t worried about carefully climbing the ladder. Hoeness took the job to see if he would like managing a team at that level. By the time he’s Jesse’s age (48) , he may be doing something else completely

        You just had a Super Bowl featuring two head coaches who were 38 and 36 years old.

        Young managers, like young players are far more common in many sports these days.

        With a little luck, Jesse could do great at Leeds. But that’s no guarantee. There’s no formula.

        I’d rather Jesse lead the USMNT in Qatar but if he gets offered the Leeds job and he thinks it’s a good move, that’s enough for me. He should go for it balls to the wall.

    • swansea had an anti-american problem, you’re leaving out where same time they were getting american owners and there were mass protests, and they bring in bradley after the season starts and throw him in with reticent fans and players.

      there is a general bias problem against american coaches, i find it hard to believe that just because they have name branding coaches who lose a lot or have been relegated are better than any possible american coach. it’s the same crap our players used to get. the difference is with 1 head coach per team it’s like keeper rather than field player and harder to get the foothold to prove otherwise. that is, a team might have 16 dressed field players on a given night, and you don’t have to start or be the best player to make your case. but there’s 1 keeper and you can rot behind him.

      what you need is more iterations of coaches taking risks like bradley did. at some point one will find his feet and make a case they can’t deny. or have an american owner who will give them a longer chance.

      the one real issue i see is language but if you want it enough marsch got his uefa license and learned more german.

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      • Bob wasn’t ready for Swansea. Too inexperienced. Especially when you consider they were in great turmoil undergoing a relegation battle. He should not have taken the job in the first place. He should not have trusted those American owners who sold him down the river.

        Not in a relegation battle. Not in the EPL. Too much at stake.

        Bob was an MLS manager, a very different thing from managing a club in Europe. That gets proven all the time by name Euro managers coming to MLS and failing miserably.

        Bob was an international manager. A very good one as he showed with the USMNT and in his time at Egypt, though Egypt was more about what a great human being he was/is.

        Again this is a completely different thing from managing a club in Europe. Think about a little thing like a trusted backroom staff. It’s a lot harder to assemble one if you have no prior experience in European club management.

        Swansea was a club in the EPL, a top 5 league in Europe. Bob’s club management experience outside MLS , was one year at Staebek in Norway’s first division. He did well and got them to Europa League qualifying phase. Still Norway’s league coefficient was probably ranked in the 20’s in those days. You could argue that they were less competitive than MLS. Managing Molde, Ole won two titles and a Cup in this league if that tells you anything.

        Then Bob moved to Le Havre, in Lige 2 and missed out on promotion. A higher level but still a ways off from the EPL.

        Regardless of nationality, any manager would have had a hard time lasting (from Wikipedia) : “with a 2–7–2 record, conceding 29 goals – the most goals conceded by any Premier League club in the same time period, with Swansea gaining only 8 (24.2%) out of a maximum 33 points available for the 11 game period – an average of 0.73 points per game.” much longer.

        If Bob had started 7-2-2 he might still be there. This anti American bias whining and moaning excuse is as lame as it gets. Performance cures all biases. If you’re American welcome to the world of non American privilege. Get used to it and learn how to beat it. Others have.

        There is an inherent bias attached to all different nationalities. Right now German and Portuguese managers are hot. You know that going in. You also know that regardless of your passport starting 2-7-2 in a relegation season is a bad idea.

        Right now Pellegrino Matarazzo has Stuttgart second bottom in the BL at 19 points.

        If he loses his job I doubt it will be because he’s an American.

        “the one real issue i see is language but if you want it enough marsch got his uefa license and learned more german”

        Gimme a break. English is much harder to learn for a non-native speaker than Spanish, French, German or Italian. If you’re an American who wants to live and coach in Europe developing at least a working ability in the necessary language should be a prerequisite. You can learn while you’re still in America.

        You’d expect an MLS manager. no matter where they were from, to learn English if they wanted a long term job here wouldn’t you?

    • also, as someone who was watching swansea around that time, the team was EPL, but underresourced, falling off, and since then relegated. an american owner bought in which they could have grasped as salvation but they were kind of axenophobic and took out their struggles on the new american owner and coach. the team then kept spiraling down and are a mediocre championship team now. the way they reflexively responded to americans was lame. i’d look at the rest of bradley’s CV and ignore when the fanbase and players basically fragged him on purpose.

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    • Seems reasonable for you and he to be nervous as its a massive challenge. Doesn’t mean he shouldn’t take the offer. It is up to him to gauge the commitment and belief of ownership to him as a person, his system, his ability because in the end that is what it is going to take. Inevitably- when there are rough spots, there is a % of fans who will immediately pull the anti -us manager card- will take the above to push through and let Jesse’s better qualities shine through.

      For certain the current roster of players at Leeds are much more familiar, better suited and prepared to implement Marsch’s system than Leipzig were. He wasn’t exactly set up for success to do his thing there and unfortunately proved unable to adequately adjust his philosophy to suit the characteristics of his players.

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    • MOS,

      “So far only US coaches with Euro backgrounds have managed to have any staying power in only one top league – the Bundesliga. ”

      Jesse has a “Euro background”. He’s won 2 championships and 2 Cups with Salzburg in the Austrian Bundesliga and managed games in the Champions League. He’s been an assistant and then the manager at RB Leipzig. That’s pretty damn “European” .

      And it’s also a hell of a lot more relevant preparation than Bob had.

      Jesse is far more prepared for managing a top 5 Euro club than Bob ever was.

      Bob Bradley has zero to do with Jesse in this case. He got sold a bag of horse manure by the American owners of Swansea into taking over an awful situation at Swansea where the promptly hung him out to dry. His eyes got too big. He should have never left LeHavre. He would have had them in Lige 1 fairly soon and then he might still be there.

      Jesse happens to be a very good manager with more or less the same style as Bielsa. He has connections with the management at Leeds.
      He’s available .
      He’d probably be relatively inexpensive.

      While I’m sure he could do a great job, right now, on paper, he’s just some guy. I don’t know who else they have in mind but there are other managers who have the same style and could do just as well.

      But, if you’re Jesse, do you really want to be the guy who replaces the Legend? Jesse is a very smart cookie. RB wanted him to bring Leipzig back to more of the old fashioned RB style, which Jesse knows well except Nagelsmann had already transitioned Leipzig into a more of a different style. Jesse knew this and told RB that he was not a good fit for what was happening at Leipzig before he took the job. But he took one for the team and took the job anyway.

      Leeds are far from a perfect team and roster. If Jesse got the job they would probably also pull the trigger on Brenden but there are other positions that need solving. Would they give him the same kind of rope they give Bielsa? I doubt it. The problem at Leeds is Bielsa is a vastly experienced iconic maestro who is already a God at Leeds in particular and world football in general. People like Pep hold him in the highest regard.

      Bielsa is not just some guy.

      Look at David Moyes. How did taking over for SAF go for him?

      Jesse should hope for something less involved like managing the USMNT in Qatar.
      Short term gig, one he could knock out of the park.

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