The new favorite to become Swansea City’s manager is Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa.
According to numerous reports Swansea’s chairman Huw Jenkins has flown to South America to talk with Bielsa, 60, about becoming the Swans’ new manager after they fired Garry Monk last week.
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Bielsa has managed Argentina, Chile, Athletic Bilbao and Marseille in his last four positions, with the coach often preferring a revolutionary 3-3-3-1 formation and is said to be an obsessive student of the game with many of his disciples (Mauricio Pochettino and Jorge Sampaoli to name two) following his coaching principles of fast-paced pressing high up the pitch and staying compact.
If Bielsa — currently out of work after leaving Marseille at the end of last season — does arrive at the Liberty Stadium it will usher in a slightly different approach by Jenkins and the Swansea board as in the past they’ve been more focused on giving young up and coming managers a chance to shine. See: Brendan Rodgers, Roberto Martinez, Paulo Sousa, Michael Laudrup and Monk.
It remains to be seen if Bielsa can be tempted away from South America to Swansea, with the South Wales side sitting out of the relegation zone only on goal difference after a slump of just one win in 12 games which cost Monk his job.
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Bielsa would have plenty of top players to work with at the Liberty but taking on this task in a country where he has never worked during his illustrious coaching career would be a big challenge. He would also demand big wages as one of the greatest and most thought-provoking coaches of his generation.
Despite his superb reputation he has only won three Argentinian titles and an Olympic Gold Medal as Argentina coach, but if you appoint him it is about buying into his style and bizarre coaching techniques which see him nicknamed “El Loco”, a title which he fully embraces, as he refuses to grant exclusive interviews to the media but instead stays for sometimes well over three hours at press conferences to answer every question possible.
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With Rodgers, Ryan Giggs and David Moyes all said to have passed on the Swansea job so far, it seems they are going to go in a completely difference direction.
The fact that Bielsa doesn’t speak English could be a problem, but perhaps he comes in initially on a short-term heavily incentivized deal to see if he is a good fit for Swansea and vice-versa?