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Confirmed: Javi Gracia named new Leeds United head coach

The search for a permanent replacement for Jesse Marsch has now officially drawn to a close as Leeds United have announced Javi Gracia as their new head coach.

Gracia arrives at Elland Road on a flexible contract, with the Spaniard currently awaiting a work permit.

Leeds intend for the 52-year-old to be in the dugout when relegation rivals Southampton travel to Yorkshire on Saturday.

The Whites had previously been managerless for just over two weeks after Marsch’s sacking on 6 February, with Under-21s coach Michael Skubala drafted in as caretaker as the club searched for a replacement.

Skubala’s time in charge began brightly as Leeds picked up an unexpected point from a double header against arch-rivals Manchester United, but a 1-0 loss to fellow strugglers Everton after a dismal display over last weekend saw pressure mount on the club hierarchy to make a more permanent appointment.

Gracia becomes head coach after a number of other candidates – including Carlos Corberan, Andoni Iraola, Arne Slot and Alfred Schreuder – were considered.

Gracia is perhaps best known amongst English fans for his tenure at Watford, where he was in charge for eighteen months. During his time there, he managed to save the club from Premier League relegation as well as guide them to a FA Cup final and a comfortable 11th place league finish the following season.

He has also had periods at other clubs such as Valencia, Malaga and Rubin Kazan in Russia.

His appointment comes ahead of a massive clash for the Whites at the weekend, with a defeat by Southampton seeing Leeds drop to the foot of the Premier League table.

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