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‘I’m certain of that’ – Phil Hay makes huge Bielsa claim as he delivers Berardi news

‘I’m certain of that’ – Phil Hay makes huge Bielsa claim as he delivers Berardi news

Marcelo Bielsa

The Athletic’s Phil Hay has claimed that he is expecting head coach Marcelo Bielsa to swiftly renew his contract as it appears that the Argentine has found a second home in Yorkshire.

He was left heartbroken after the Elland Road outfit failed to secure promotion last term, and there were doubts concerning his future at the club.

However, Bielsa signed a new deal in the end, and with Premier League promotion on the horizon, a longer stay appears to be on the cards for him.

The EFL announced yesterday that the season will be decided on a points-per-game basis if it is unable to be finished due to the coronavirus pandemic, and that will see Championship leaders Leeds secure top-flight promotion based on the current standings.

“He’s planning for next season, as you’d expect, and in the same way as Berardi, he isn’t going to exit stage left on June 30 while Leeds are in the middle of a nine-game foot race,” Hay said on The Athletic when asked if negotiations had begun on Bielsa’s contract extension.

“Initially, he’ll be here until the season is done or the EFL gives in and decides that the Championship should be settled early on a points-per-game basis. With the Premier League to look forward to, Bielsa stays. I’m certain of that because he and the club both value each other.

“If another Championship season is looming, all bets are off. A lot of big decisions will have to be taken on and off the pitch. It does occur to me, though, that Bielsa might find it incredibly difficult to drag himself away from Leeds. It’s like he’s found a second home in Yorkshire.”

Gaetano Berardi is another Leeds man whose contract ends at the end of the campaign.

The Swiss defender has spent six years at Elland Road, featuring in 137 league games so far and establishing himself as a fans favourite.

Despite being close to returning to Italy in the past, Hay expects the 31-year-old to sign another deal if the Whites are guaranteed playing Premier League football next term.

“My understanding is that as the first port of call, he and the club will agree a short-term extension to cover the remaining matches. It won’t be a problem. After that, a more substantial renewal might depend on which division Leeds are in,” the Athletic journalist said.

“The club and Bielsa want Berardi to stay, that much has become clear. At points in Berardi’s career in England he’s been tempted to go back to Italy (particularly after the 2017-18 season) but the offer for Premier League football would be very attractive. Another year in the Championship maybe not so much. But no-one expects him to walk out on June 30 with the season ongoing. It’s not in his nature.”

Having both men available beyond the end of this term will definitely be a huge boost for Leeds, and sealing promotion will definitely make life better for every party associated with the club.

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