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Madrid-based club Rayo Vallecano have blocked Leeds United’s approach for their head coach Andoni Iraola.
Iraola was a leading candidate to fill the vacancy at Elland Road after Jesse Marsch was fired on Monday following Leeds’ loss to relegation rivals Nottingham Forest.
Iraola Stopped from Speaking with Leeds
Leeds have been interested in Iraola for some time, as he has been quite successful in overseeing Rayo Vallecano in La Liga. The Spanish minnows currently occupy fifth in the country’s top flight and are looking to challenge for the Champions League places.
Iraola oversaw two victories against Barcelona last term and in November they beat champions Real Madrid 3-2.
According to Sky Sports News, the Spaniard is open to a leaving Rayo and moving to manage Leeds in the Premier League. However, the Spanish side have since stopped their man from speaking to the English side in the hope of retaining his services.
The coach spent the majority of his playing career with Athletic Bilbao, where he was coached by former Leeds manager Marcelo Bielsa. He also played for MLS club New York City alongside Leeds winger Jack Harrison.
Leeds’ 2-2 draw at Manchester United on Wednesday was overseen by Michael Skubala, Paco Gallardo, and Chris Armas, who have taken interim command until a replacement for Marsch is found.
Other Contenders for the Leeds Job
Leeds are also in discussions with other applicants on their shortlist. The club had assumed Feyenoord coach Arne Slot, the bookmakers’ choice, would not be available, thus he was not on their list, but they could now examine his status to see if he is available.
West Brom manager Carlos Corberan was one of the first candidates mentioned in connection with the post, having previously worked under Bielsa at Elland Road. Corberan took charge of Leeds’ U23 squad at the time and was also an assistant coach for the senior side.
The West Brom boss has since signed a contract extension with his Championship side and will stay at the Hawthorns rather than uproot and move to Leeds.
Spanish legend Raul was also a target for Leeds after Bielsa was fired a year ago, but he is regarded to be unlikely to quit his current position as reserve team manager at Real Madrid.
“Hopefully white smoke by tonight or tomorrow morning,” Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani tweeted on Tuesday night, implying an appointment was near.
However, the Italian club owner stated on Wednesday evening, “Not yet…need more time.” This could indicate that the club are finding it difficult to find a replacement given that most clubs are in the middle of their respective seasons.
Leeds’ next game is another tie versus rivals Man United on Sunday afternoon. An impressive performance from the relegation threatened side earned them a 2-2 draw with the fourth placed Premier League side on Tuesday evening. The Yorkshire side had been two goals ahead courtesy of Willy Gnonto and a Raphael Varane own-goal in the second half but Manchester United pulled them back later in the game at Old Trafford.
Sunday’s fixture will see Leeds battle on home soil and if they can get another result it would be massive for the club’s chances of staying afloat in the top flight and avoiding relegation.
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