Sam Allardyce has arrived at Leeds’ Thorpe Arch training ground and is expected to take over from Javi Gracia as the club’s next manager today.
Former England manager Allardyce, who has been out of work since leaving West Bromwich Albion in May 2021, will try to save Leeds from relegation to the Premier League with just four games of the season remaining.
Sky Sports News understands that Leeds will announce Gracia’s departure from the club after just two-and-a-half months in the role on Wednesday morning.
Former Oxford boss Karl Robinson will be part of Allardyce’s backroom team at Leeds. Robinson worked with Leeds striker Patrick Bamford at MK Dons during the 2012/2013 and 2013/2014 seasons when he joined the club on loan from Chelsea.
Meanwhile, Leeds director of football Victor Horta has left the club in the first move of what is shaping up to be a dramatic day in West Yorkshire.
The Spaniard took over at Elland Road in 2017 and helped Leeds make their long-awaited return to the Premier League three years later.
Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani said of his departure: “I am deeply saddened by the way this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and the people him for everything they have done in the last six years.
“However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and that is why we have agreed that Victor should leave the club.
“I understand that supporters are hurt and upset, but now is the time for unity.
“We have four cup finals left this season and, working together, I believe we can survive.”
Leeds lost 4-1 at Bournemouth on Sunday and are now just outside the relegation places on goal difference after Monday night’s 2-2 draw between fellow relegation strugglers Leicester and Everton.
Leeds have lost four of their last five games in a run that has seen them slump to 5-1, 6-1 and 4-1 defeats at Crystal Palace, Liverpool and Bournemouth respectively.
Now boss Gracia faces the sack after just two-and-a-half months in charge, meaning Allardyce could become the club’s fourth head coach of the season.
The 68-year-old faces a daunting battle which includes away leaders Manchester City, live Sky Sportsthen home games against Newcastle and Tottenham as well as a trip to West Ham.
Leeds’ form in recent weeks has angered fans after they conceded 23 goals in April, a new Premier League record for goals against in a single month.
On Sunday night, fans’ group the Leeds United Supporters’ Advisory Board issued a vote of no confidence in both the club’s board and head coach Gracia.
Leeds players were also forced to issue a statement to apologize for Sunday’s performance at Bournemouth and for ignoring fans as they left the team hotel.
A video posted on social media after the defeat left them deep in relegation trouble showed players failing to recognize a group of supporters, including a young boy, in a hotel lobby.
Cara: Allardyce would be a decent signing for Leeds
Sky Sports Pundit Jamie Carragher believes former Bolton, Blackburn and West Ham manager Allardyce would be a sensible signing for Leeds.
He said Monday Night Football on Leeds possibly sacking Gracia: “It sounds crazy and we never thought it could happen in our league, but the stakes are so high I think I could probably understand it.
“There is such a bad feeling at the club at the moment about the relationship between him and the supporters. They are not satisfied. They showed that frustration towards him at Bournemouth.”
He added: “I don’t think Sam Allardyce has ever been this late. He usually comes with the January transfer window to bring in his players and have time to change them.
“But I think it would be a decent appointment. Whether the audience is behind him, I’m not so sure. I don’t know how Leeds supporters would react to Sam Allardyce.
“But in terms of trying to make them more solid and better defensively, there’s probably no one better than us.”
With a daunting run of fixtures remaining, with a trip to leaders Manchester City followed by home games against Newcastle and Tottenham, Carragher believes a late change of manager could be their only chance of getting the results they need to stay up.
“They need to try and create some kind of feel-good factor in the home games they have, bring some kind of energy and performance to get them over the line, so I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they made that change.” , he said.
“It’s very difficult to instill that [a clear style of play]. The only thing I believe the board and management will be thinking is: “Can we turn Elland Road into a fortress in the last few games at home?”
“I think that’s the only thing they can do. To bring somebody in where it becomes a tough game for teams to go where there’s an atmosphere, there’s an energy, because right now that’s completely gone.”
Leeds United’s remaining matches
May 6: Man City (A) – Premier League, kick-off 15:00, live Sky Sports
May 13: Newcastle (H) – Premier League, kick-off 15:00
May 21: West Ham (A) – Premier League, kick-off 1.30pm
May 28: Tottenham (H) – Premier League, start 16.30