Leeds United’s links with Spanish midfielder Ander Iturraspe have reemerged this week. El Desmarque has reported that the 30-year-old could be open to a reunion with his former Athletic Bilbao boss Marcelo Bielsa at Elland Road.
Iturraspe has left Athletic after 20 years affiliated to the Basque club. Arguably his best period during that time was when Bielsa was manager. AS reported in March that Leeds could be an option for the player this summer, if they won promotion to the Premier League.
However, the latest report suggests that Iturraspe could be interested even with Leeds still in the Championship.
There is no doubt that Bielsa and Iturraspe are fans of each other.
Prior to Bielsa’s arrival at San Mames in 2011, Iturraspe looked like failing to make it at his beloved club.
However, Bielsa made him a key part of the Bilbao midfield and Iturraspe credited the Leeds boss with rescuing his Bilbao career in a 2014 interview with El Mundo.
“To Bielsa I have much appreciation and gratitude. If he had not arrived in Bilbao, it’s possible that I would not be in Athletic right now. Bielsa gave us a lot, especially in the way of competing. He has been a boss who gave a lot to everyone.”
As for Bielsa, he described Iturraspe as ‘indispensable’ back in 2013, as reported by El Correo.
Leeds United clearly need to make some improvements if they are to get over the line in the hunt for Premier League football.
Iturraspe, available on a free transfer and apparently keen, would certainly be an impressive recruit.