Leeds Owner Reveals He Was Ready to Pay £20m to Appoint Antonio Conte as Manager


Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has revealed ​that he tried to appoint former Chelsea and current Inter manager Antonio Conte as manager of the Whites in the summer of 2018, before appointing Marcelo Bielsa.

Radrizzani was willing the offer the Italian coach £20m to become the manager of Leeds, but Conte, who had just been sacked by Chelsea after the Blues failed to qualify for the Champions League, declined the offer. 

Speaking to ​Gianluca Di Marzio, Radrizzani said: "It was at the end of my first year here, which was hard. I'm someone who values money and I made myself. I was in the car with our sports director [Victor Orta], we were going to ​Leeds. I ask him, 'Let's make three names to be promoted.' Then I tell him I could pay Conte 20 million and I'm sure we'll go up.

"But I knew he had much higher ambitions, but I tried in a friendly and nice way.

"My sporting director then told me that Bielsa would be ideal but it was impossible. As soon as I heard 'impossible', I told him to call him. He didn't reply, we left him a message, and the next day, when we talked to him, Bielsa had already watched eight team games and talked about the players, including those of the youth team."

Bielsa's appointment at Leeds has paid dividends, with the legendary Argentinian coach turning the Whites into a side capable of challenging for promotion to the ​Premier League after nearly two decades in the footballing wilderness and his team currently sit at the top of the ​Championship table. 

Securing Bielsa was widely seen as a coup for Leeds, especially after the ambitious Radrizzani's reign got off to a bad start, going through two managers and finishing 13th in 2017/18. 

With Bielsa, however, Leeds look set to win promotion to the Premier League, making 2020/21 potentially their first season in the top flight since 2003/04.