Leeds lost 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday and are outside relegation zone on goal difference; Javi Gracia has been in charge for only two-and-a-half months; ex-England boss Sam Allardyce set to replace him; Leeds director of football Victor Orta left on Tuesday morning
Sam Allardyce has arrived at Leeds’ Thorp Arch training ground and is expected to take over from Javi Gracia as the club’s next manager today.
Former England manager Allardyce, who has been out of work since leaving West Brom in May 2021, will try and save Leeds from Premier League relegation with only four games of the season remaining.
Sky Sports News understands Leeds will announce Gracia’s departure from the club after just two-and-a-half months in the role on Wednesday morning.
Former Oxford boss Karl Robinson is set to be a part of Allardyce’s backroom team at Leeds. Robinson worked with Leeds striker Patrick Bamford at MK Dons in the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons when he went on loan to the club from Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Leeds director of football Victor Orta has left the club in the first move of what is shaping up to be a dramatic day in West Yorkshire.
The Spaniard took up the post at Elland Road in 2017 and helped Leeds make their long-awaited return to the Premier League three years later.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said of his departure: “I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years.
“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club.
“I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity.
“We have four cup finals left to play this season and, working together, I believe we can survive.”
Leeds lost 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday and are now only outside the relegation places on goal difference after Monday night’s 2-2 draw between fellow relegation strugglers Leicester and Everton.
Leeds have lost four of their last five games in a run which has seen them slump to 5-1, 6-1 and 4-1 defeats to Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Bournemouth respectively.
Boss Gracia now faces the sack after just two-and-a-half months in charge, meaning Allardyce could become the club’s fourth head coach of the season.
The 68-year-old would face a daunting run-in that includes a visit to leaders Manchester City, live on Sky Sports, then home games against Newcastle and Tottenham as well as a trip to West Ham.
The manner of Leeds’ displays in recent weeks has angered fans after they conceded 23 goals in April, a new Premier League record for goals against in a month.
On Sunday night fans’ group the Leeds United Supporters Advisory Board issued a vote of no confidence in both the club’s board and head coach Gracia.
Leeds’ players were also forced to issue a statement to apologise for Sunday’s display at Bournemouth and for ignoring fans as they departed the team’s hotel.
A video posted on social media after the defeat had left them deep in relegation trouble showed players failing to acknowledge a group of supporters, including a young boy, in the hotel lobby.
Carra: Allardyce would be decent appointment for Leeds
Sky Sports pundit Jamie Carragher feels former Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham manager Allardyce would be a sensible appointment for Leeds.
He told Monday Night Football of Leeds potentially sacking Gracia: “It sounds crazy and we never used to think this could happen in our league, but the stakes are so high I think I could probably understand it.
“There is such an ill-feeling at the club right now in terms of the connection between him and the supporters. They’re not happy. They showed that frustration to him at Bournemouth.”
He added: “I don’t think Sam Allardyce has ever come in this late. He’s normally come in with a January transfer window to bring his own players in and have time to change it.
“But I think it would be a decent appointment. Whether the crowd get behind it, I’m not so sure. I don’t know how Leeds supporters would react to Sam Allardyce.
“But in terms of trying to make them more solid and better defensively, there’s probably no one better out there.”
With daunting fixtures remaining, with a trip to leaders Manchester City next followed by home games against Newcastle and Tottenham, Carragher believes a late change of manager could be their only chance of getting the results they need to stay up.
“They’ve got to try to create some sort of feel-good factor in the home games they’ve got, to bring some kind of energy and a performance to get them over the line, so I would not be surprised at all if they made that change,” he said.
“It’s very difficult to instil that [a clear style of play]. The only thing I believe the board and hierarchy will be thinking is, ‘Can we make Elland Road a fortress in these last couple of games at home?’
“I think that’s the only thing they can do. Bring someone in where it becomes a tough game for the teams going there, where there’s an atmosphere, there’s an energy, because right now that has vanished completely.”
Leeds United’s remaining fixtures
May 6: Man City (A) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm, live on Sky Sports
May 13: Newcastle (H) – Premier League, kick-off 3pm
May 21: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 1.30pm
May 28: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, kick-off 4.30pm