Leeds United remain hopeful Marcelo Bielsa will be their next manager but the club has a contingency plan in place in case the Argentine turns them down, reports The Yorkshire Evening Post.
The Whites have identified the 62-year-old as their preferred choice to succeed Paul Heckingbottom, whose four-month spell at the club came to an end at the start of this month.
Chairman Andrea Radrizzani has now employed and sacked two inexperienced managers in the ex-Barnsley man and Thomas Christiansen and is now looking for an older, firmer hand to take over as Leeds try to get back to the Premier League.
Bielsa himself is keen to move to England and negotiations are ongoing. In anticipation of him taking over, players have been asked to report early for pre-season training.
However, the Evening Post reports that the club has two other options in mind including Bielsa’s compatriot Matias Almeyda, in case the deal falls through.
The 44-year-old has made an impressive start to his managerial career, winning leagues in Argentina with River Plate and Banfield before moving to Mexico.
There, he won five trophies with Chivas Guadalajara before leaving the club earlier this week, reportedly unhappy with pre-season arrangements.
Almeyda won 35 caps for Argentina, represented clubs in Argentina and Italy, and played for the national side when Bielsa was in charge.
As he is now a free agent, should they miss out on their first choice, Leeds would expect to conclude negotiations with him swiftly and would also avoid having to pay compensation to any club.
The paper claims Leeds’ other alternative is a British manager.
Should either Bielsa or Almeyda take over, they would become the first Argentine and the first non-European to manage the club.
Tottenham Hotspur’s Mauricio Pochettino is the only other of their compatriots currently managing in the Premier or Football League.