Leeds United have completed one of the more eye-catching managerial appointments in Championship history, with the appointment of Argentine legend Marcelo Bielsa before the weekend.
The former Athletic Bilbao and Marseille boss is a cult hero in the sport for his revolutionary tactics and influence on some of the best young managers in the world today.
He also often sees things in certain players that others don’t. He can make a player thrive, who then falls away once he departs. Aurtenetxe at Athletic Bilbao a prime example. From playing in the Europa League final and being on the verge of the Spanish national team, to being released by Dundee.
Another player who fits this bill is French central defender Stephane Sparagna.
Bielsa plucked him from the reserves back in 2014 just as his Marseille career appeared to be dwindling away. Bielsa quickly turned him into a squad regular and soon Arsenal were snooping. When Bielsa left, Sparagna fell out of favour – with injuries also a contributing factor.
But Bielsa’s influence cannot be understated. Sparagna said so himself, telling Europe1 Sports that the Argentine was the ‘only one who believed in him.’
Nowadays the 23-year-old is impressing in Portuguese football with Boavista but Leeds need a new central defender. They need players Bielsa can trust, especially if a three at the back formation is implemented at Elland Road.
The former French youth international underwent corrective knee surgery in May but is expected back for the new season.
Considering he would be an affordable, trustworthy former Bielsa product in a position that Leeds need reinforcements, Sparagna would be a welcome recruit.