Javi Gracia set to be confirmed as new Leeds United manager as club’s search for Jesse Marsch’s successor finally comes to an end
- Gracia, 52, was formerly manager of Watford in the Premier League
- He kept them in the division after a relegation fight and reached FA Cup final
- Leeds are second bottom of the Premier League table, two points from safety
Leeds are two points from safety but lost 1-0 at fellow strugglers Everton on Saturday. They face a crunch home game with Southampton this Saturday.
Sportsmail reported on Monday night that talks with Spanish coach Gracia were underway and that he was one of two names under consideration.
Rafa Benitez, the former Liverpool boss, was not in the running as he holds out for another project.
Javi Gracia is set to be confirmed as the new manager of Leeds United on Tuesday
The club had been willing to stick with Michael Skubala (right) for the rest of the campaign but sporting director Victor Orta (left) feels they need more experience to avoid relegation
Leeds had been willing to leave Michael Skubala in interim charge but an encouraging 2-2 draw with Manchester United at Old Trafford was followed by successive defeats – to United at Elland Road and then at Goodison Park.
Acknowledging the need for someone with greater Premier League experience and with director of football Victor Orta under pressure to make an appointment, Leeds turned to Gracia a fortnight after the sacking of American coach Marsch.
After failing to tempt candidates such as Rayo Vallecano’s Andoni Iraola, West Brom’s Carlos Corberan and Arne Slot of Feyenoord, they spoke to former Ajax boss Alfred Schreuder only to change their minds following poor fan reaction.
They have now targeted two more names with Gracia free after leaving Qatari club Al-Sadd and understood to be willing to accept a short-term deal.
The 52-year-old coached Watford from January 2018 to September 2019 and was a popular figure among staff.
Gracia guided Watford to Premier League safety and took them to only the second FA Cup final in their history.
However, he was sacked the following September, like so many Watford managers, after a poor start to the season.
His last job saw him retain the league title with Al-Sadd after he took over as coach from Xavi who had left for Barcelona. Gracia has also coached at Valencia, Malaga and Rubin Kazan.