Bookmakers have never been slow to offer odds, and already they have priced Leeds United up at 7/2 to be relegated back to the Championship at the first time of asking.
In reality this is a bit of a show of faith in Leeds and maybe in particular, their manager, Marcelo Bielsa. Should the Argentine get a better offer and jump ship, I expect these odds would shorten drastically.
As it stands, West Brom are Even money to go straight back down, so there is a huge disparity in the football betting odds on offer for both sides. I suspect the reason for this is Bielsa.
Bielsa is Key to keeping Leeds United from being relegated
Leeds won promotion to the Premier League at a canter. They finished 10 points clear of second placed West Brom, and 12 point clear of third place. Promotion was fairly straightforward.
As I alluded too, there was a little wobble here and there. But unlike the previous season, Leeds -guided by Bielsa – overcame those wobbles.
All teams and managers make mistakes, but the hallmark of good teams and managers is too learn from those mistakes. And that’s exactly what Leeds and Bielsa did.
So will holding onto Bielsa be a problem for Leeds? He will certainly be in demand, and as we’ve already seen, he will be linked with any big jobs that become available.
Bielsa is due to sit down with Leeds and negotiate a new contract over the next few days. Reports also suggest that he will expect his transfer demands to be met before he signs his new deal.
As the story linking Bielsa with Barcelona highlights, Leeds have an in demand manager. Whether the story has any substance or not, is irrelevant really. The fact is, it shows the level of esteem that Bielsa is held in throughout the football world.
This means Leeds will have to tread carefully in the negotiations. If Bielsa wants something, they may find themselves having to give him it. At the same time though, the club can’t be reckless in the transfer market, just to keep Bielsa happy.
The chances are though, that Bielsa won’t be too demanding on the club. One of his core successes at Leeds is how he basically worked with what he had. There was no going out and spending recklessly in the pursuit of promotion.
Spending big isn’t always the answer in the Premier League
As Nuno Espirito Santo at Wolves, and Chris Wilder at Sheffield United have shown, good managers with the core group of players that got them up, can keep them up. Bielsa fits into that category of manager, and that looks like the ideal blueprint to follow for Leeds.
As Aston Villa and Norwich have shown though, there is no hard and fast rule to succeeding in the Premier League.
Villa went out and spent fortunes and only managed to survive by the skin of their teeth. While Norwich City chose to go down the Wolves root, and unlike Sheffield United, it ended in an instant return to the Championship.