Marcelo Bielsa or Ernesto Valverde is set to become the new coach of Athletic Bilbao

Former Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa or former Man United target Ernesto Valverde is set to become the new manager of Athletic Bilbao… as the Spanish club prepares for a tough presidential election

  • Marcelo Bielsa and Ernesto Valverde ready to take over Bilbao
  • The presidential election will effectively determine who takes the position of coach
  • One of the candidates had asked Mauricio Pochettino for the role
  • Two of those seeking to become club president have supported Valverde
  • Bielsa and Valverde both managed the Spanish team in the past

The new Athletic Bilbao coach will be former Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa, or Manchester United’s one-time target Ernesto Valverde.

The club will hold a presidential election between three candidates on Friday and that will effectively decide who will take charge next.

Presidential candidate Ricardo Barcala had questioned Mauricio Pochettino but the Argentine rejected the opportunity, preferring to take a break from management after PSG. He will only be interrupted if you offer him a job at a big club.

Former Leeds coach Marcelo Bielsa may return to management with Athletic Bilbao

Ernesto Valverde is the preferred choice of two candidates in the presidential elections

Barcala has now joined Valverde, who won two championships and a cup in two seasons with Barcelona.

Valverde is also the coach of choice for second candidate John Uriarty. The third candidate, Inaki Arrichabaleta, said the 66-year-old Bielsa would be his coach.

Valverde’s pledge of loyalty to both other candidates could boost Bielsa’s chances of taking charge. Sports club supporters are divided between wanting Bielsa to return after an indifferent two-year period from 2011.

If the vote to not return Bielsa is split between Valverde’s presidential candidates, the Argentine who spent four years in Leeds could end up again in San Mamés.

Bilbao was led by Marcelino Garcia Toral between January 2021 and May this year

Bilbao was led by Marcelino Garcia Toral between January 2021 and May this year

Athletic Bielsa played some of the best football the club’s fans had seen in the 2011-12 season but the team ran out of steam at the height of the season and lost the Spanish Cup and Europa League final 3-0.

His second season was less successful and was marred by a strange feud with the builders at the club’s Lezema training ground.

He had an argument with building contractors about what he said was dirty work. Then he stayed away from the training ground for three days. On his return, he called a press conference where he gave a 20-minute monologue describing how the builders were tearing the club apart with a substandard job.

“When someone doesn’t fulfill a promise they made to me, it’s like theft or fraud,” he said. I grabbed him and shook him hard.

A dismal second season was not enough to erase the memories of Athletic’s brilliant Europa League streak in his first season, which included a 3-2 and 2-1 win over Manchester United in the last 16.

Mauricio Pochettino is believed to have turned down the opportunity to become coach of Bilbao

Mauricio Pochettino is believed to have turned down the opportunity to become coach of Bilbao

Valverde has not worked since he was Barcelona’s last successful coach.

Fans at the Camp Nou complained in its second campaign of style football but they quickly lost the 58-year-old as soon as he left.

He was open to the idea of ​​taking over Manchester United last season as interim coach, but in the end they chose Ralph Rangnick.

Valverde, like Bielsa, will return to Athletic. He coached the club twice before winning the Spanish Super Cup in 2015.