Karanka strong favourite to take over at Leeds United

New director of football at Leeds United Victor Orta.
New director of football at Leeds United Victor Orta.

So what next for Leeds United after their season of goodwill was so abruptly ended with Garry Monk’s decision to quit as first team head coach?

New owner Andrew Radrizzani has vowed to move as quickly as possible to get a new man in place and several candidates have emerged.

Early names thrown into the hat included former Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka and Englishmen Alan Pardew and Nigel Pearson, also currently out of a job.

Current betting has Karanka as strong favourite and he seems certain to be one of the people considered after his fellow Spaniard Victor Orta became director of football at Elland Road after previously being chief scout at Boro when Karanka was manager.

Second favourite is the popular former Leicester City and Chelsea boss Claudio Ranieri, whose odds shortened over the weekend. But he has gone on record as saying the club had not been in contact with him.

A third candidate to be winning betting support is Michael Laudrup, ironically someone who worked with Monk at Swansea, and who will be known by recently appointed board member Ivan Bravo.

Orta’s arrival as director of football follows the appointment of Angus Kinnear as managing director to replace outgoing chief executive Ben Mansford so it is all change at the top.

Orta was at Middlesbrough for 17 months before leaving this month to pave the way for his move to Elland Road.

He egan his career at Sevilla in 2006 as part of the technical and recruitment staff and was promoted to the role of technical director. The Spaniard left in 2013 to join Zenit St Petersburg and after a short spell at Spanish club Elche, he joined Middlesbrough in December 2015.

He has been welcomed to the club by owner and chairman Radrizzani, who said: “I am delighted to welcome Victor to Elland Road, I have been impressed by his knowledge of the game, his extensive scouting network and his desire to help us achieve our objective of getting Leeds United back to the Premier League.”

Radrizzani, meanwhile, took to Twitter to explain what happened from his point of view with the Monk talks that led to last season’s first team coach quitting.

He said: “We were keen to do (a) three-year deal. We never receive any request from him and his agent. No regrets, we did our best.”

A club statement read: “We are shocked and disappointed by Garry’s decision but his resignation has been reluctantly accepted by chairman Andrea Radrizzani.

“Andrea made it clear that his intention was to exercise the club’s option to extended the manager’s contract for another 12 months and immediately begin negotiations for a longer term deal.

“Mr Radrizzani has met with Garry twice since taking over at Elland Road and during the second meeting it became clear that Garry was considering life beyond Leeds United as at no time did Garry wish to discuss terms for a longer contract.

“Following that meeting Garry’s agent requested that the option was not exercised and his resignation was received.

“Whilst we are deeply saddened by Garry’s decision, there is no individual bigger than our club and we will now begin a process to identify and appoint a new head coach to take the club to the next level.

“We thank Garry for his contribution during his time at Leeds United, we are disappointed that we could not continue on this journey together.”

Monk said: “It is with huge disappointment that my time at Leeds United has come to an end. My intention was always to remain at Leeds and I saw myself at this fantastic club for many years to come.

“However, ultimately no agreement could be reached.

“After discussions with the new owner we have unfortunately been unable to agree a suitable way for us to all move forward together.”