Angus Kinnear says Marcelo Bielsa’s contract at the Whites will be sorted in the coming days and believes it’s just “a formality.”
The Leeds CEO told The Square Ball podcast that the club had shook hands with the Whites boss six months ago and it was just a case of ironing out minor details in a new contract.
Kinnear was relaxed when discussing the nature of Bielsa’s new deal, stating that the Leeds boss was fully focused on preparing for the season, rather than thinking about his own future.
Bielsa’s contract for the 2021/22 season has not yet been signed, with the Argentine preferring to work on a season by season basis, but the Whites CEO says his contract will be sorted before the opening game of the season against Manchester United.
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When asked about Bielsa being ready for the beginning of the season, Kinnear said: “He’s ready. His contract isn’t ready but he’s ready. I think we are very lucky to have a manager who is so exceptional at preparing a team for the start of the season and his pre-seasons are meticulous.
“I think bar the contract we’re in great shape.
“It’ll be signed this week and announced to great excitement. It’s not even been discussed. The discussions are all around preparations, it really is a formality.
“We had a handshake probably six months ago and it really is just the details. Every day he’s talking to Victor [Orta], Andrea [Radrizzani] and myself but it’s all about preparations.”
Leeds United manager Marcelo Bielsa during the pre-season friendly match at Ewood Park, Blackburn. Picture date: Wednesday July 28, 2021. PA Photo. See PA story SOCCER Blackburn. Photo credit should read: . RESTRICTIONS: EDITORIAL USE ONLY No use with unauthorised audio, video, data, fixture lists, club/league logos or “live” services. Online in-match use limited to 120 images, no video emulation. No use in betting, games or single club/league/player publications.
(Image: Richard Sellers/PA Wire)
Leeds fans were understandably concerned that Bielsa had not signed a new deal at Elland Road but have grown accustomed to the laid back nature of their boss when it comes to contract renewals.
When asked what had taken so long this time round, Kinnear said: “Fundamentally it’s his lack of interest in it. There are some minor points that we discuss but it’s just getting his attention on it.
“He is just so fixated on the season and the preparations so we have minor points that occasionally come up when we get him to engage on it, but actually it’s much more around the line-ups for the games and the transfer window and that’s where his priorities are and we wouldn’t have it any other way.”
Leeds have announced the contracts extensions of Stuart Dallas and Tyler Roberts this summer to name a few. The Whites have been pretty quiet in the transfer market too, but Kinnear says that was ‘part of the plan’ after promotion from the Championship.
Kinnear also hinted that there are a “couple more” contracts to be announced.
He said: “There should be a couple more [contract extensions] announced in the next few days. It really, really enforces the strategy that we’ve had from the moment we got promoted, which was to retain the core of the talent that we have and that we get those players on long-term contracts to ensure they’re committed to Leeds in the long-term.
“If you see the way they performed – not only getting us promoted from the Championship – but the first season in the Premier League, people like Stuart Dallas are talents that you want to retain at the club.
Stuart Dallas #15 of Leeds United applauds the fans at the final whistle
“That’s backed up by the acquisition strategy that we had in the first year. I know that some supporters have been, perplexed or disappointed by a perceived lack of activity this year, but that was always the plan.
“We wanted to build a squad in the year that we got promoted, that would last us two to three seasons and get us up and running. I think we ended up spending more than any other promoted team has spent to get to that position.
“That enabled us this year to be in a position where we’ve got strength in every single position. There were two specific positions that we needed to address, which we did with the signing of Junior [Firpo] at left-back and [Kristoffer] Klaesson at goalkeeper.
“We’ve really delivered in terms of where we wanted to be from a transfer perspective.
“The business we’ve done this summer hasn’t been restricted by finance. It’s been restricted by finding the right quality of player who Marcelo thinks will strengthen the squad and that’s really challenging because he really believes in the squad.
“You look at positions and we were talking earlier about centre-half we’re I think we’re can choose any two of four centre-halves and go into any game feeling confident. That’s where Marcelo believes we are at the moment and he doesn’t want to destabilise the squad by bringing in players who aren’t a significant improvement on what we’ve got at the moment.”