Andoni Iraola has told Rayo Vallecano he wants to leave the Spanish club so he can become the next Leeds manager.
Leeds have made Iraola their No.1 choice to replace Jesse Marsch, who was sacked at the start of the week following a run of seven league games without a win. Director of football Victor Orta flew to Madrid on Tuesday to hold talks with Iraola, who is desperate to work in the Premier League.
Orta returned to England 24 hours later to attend Wednesday night's game at Old Trafford, but is in constant dialogue with Vallecano bosses in the hope of thrashing out a compensation package for Iraola. Iraola's contract expires in June but the Spanish outfit had been in talks to tie him down to a new deal and still want sizeable compensation.
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It means Leeds fans might have to wait until next week to see the Yorkshire club announce a new boss. Chairman Andrea Radrizzani had taken to social media to suggest an appointment could be made within 48 hours of Marsch being sacked.
But he was forced to backtrack and admit Leeds needed more time in their hunt for a new manager. Iraola, 40, has steered Vallecano to fifth place in La Liga this season – having won promotion with them in 2021.
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He remains the preferred choice, but Radrizzani knows he faces a huge decision considering the club's perilous league position and would be willing to consider alternative targets should no agreement with Vallecano be reached. Two names not on the list are ex-Whites boss Marcelo Bielsa or Mauricio Pochettino.
The pair had been linked with the Elland Road job, but Leeds chairman Andrea Radrizzani has reportedly decided against pursuing either of the bosses. Instead, Leeds are said to be eyeing Carlos Corberan, Kjetil Knutsen and Ange Postecoglou for the vacant post incase Iraola doesn't take up the role.
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