Marcelo Bielsa is the shock name being linked with the manager’s position at Leeds United and, if his first meeting with Mauricio Pochettino is anything to go by, the players at Elland Road are in for a culture shock.
In 1985, Bielsa was working in youth development for Newell’s Old Boys when he visited the Pochettino family household in the town of Murphy, Sante Fe.
Seemingly nothing strange about that, scouts normally visit potential player’s families before signing them.
However, this meeting was at 2 o’clock in the morning and Bielsa had never seen the 13-year-old play.
Bielsa spoke to Pochettino’s parents and demanded to see the legs of the sleeping teen, declared he looked like a footballer and signed him on the spot!
“Yes, that was the reality,” Pochettino told Sport Magazine.
“I woke up in the morning and my mum explained the story. I said: ‘Yeah come on, it was in your dream. What did you drink before you went to sleep?’
“Sometimes you need to take risks,” the 44-year-old added. “In that moment, they trusted in a person who lived in the area. They believed, and they took a risk, and they travelled to my town.
Pochettino (left with the ponytail) and Bielsa (far right) before an Argentina training session at the 2002 World Cup
“And they were very brave, because at 2 o’clock in the morning to knock on the door of a house in the middle of nowhere, you risk yourself – some dog could come and bite you – they were very brave and it’s a special story.”
The duo have a long history together, with Pochettino playing under the fiery manager for Espanyol and the Argentinean national team.
Bielsa has a long and decorated history as a manager, but is no secret to controversy.
In July 2016, he walked out of the Lazio job just two days after accepting it – having walked out of the Marseille job the year before a few minutes after the final whistle of their first Ligue 1 game.