MARCELO BIELSA was Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani‘s FOURTH CHOICE to be Elland Road boss.
And he only turned to the Argentine after being snubbed by Antonio Conte, Roberto Martinez and Claudio Ranieri.
Yet Italian businessman Radrizzani had been eyeing up even bigger managerial names before appointing him in June.
Top of his list was Antonio Conte — still in the Chelsea hotseat, waiting for the axe to fall when an initial approach arrived.
Radrizzani revealed: “With Conte in charge, Premier League football would have been certain and I was ready to offer him £20million.
“Then I had an interview with Ranieri, who was flattered but declined as he was waiting for a club in the top division.
“I also spoke with Martinez but the Belgian national job was an obstacle so that didn’t happen.
“Until May, I was telling people, ‘Bielsa would be ideal but it is impossible’.
“But then word reached me that things had changed and, after ten hours of conversations in Buenos Aires, we reached an agreement. He’d studied 20 of our games and knew all the players, even our youth team.”
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Radrizzani completed his Leeds takeover from controversial Massimo Cellino last summer after exploring the possibility of purchasing several leading European clubs.
In the interview with Italian paper La Gazzetta dello Sport, he added: “Two years ago I looked at buying Sampdoria and there was also an interest in Nice.
“There was also the chance of buying Milan with another investor. Then I had the possibility of acquiring Leeds and had no doubts about the move — even though it cost me more.
“Now the aim is to be back in the Premier League in three to four years. If that does not happen, I could seriously think about returning to Italy.”
Swansea boss Graham Potter reckons Radrizzani made an inspired appointment with former Argentina and Lazio boss Bielsa.
Ahead of tonight’s clash at the Liberty Stadium, he said: “We are very fortunate to have him in British football.
“He has had an amazing career and been hugely influential for lots of top, top coaches.”
Bielsa, meanwhile, revealed he was in the running to take over from Garry Monk at Swansea in late 2015.
He said: “I was willing to work there but, in the end, they chose someone else. They wanted someone to work to the end of the season and that didn’t make an agreement easy.”