Leeds United spring Christiansen surprise as new manager

Leeds United
Leeds United

Leeds United are expected to confirm Thomas Christiansen as their new manager today after it emerged that he had become first choice to take over from Garry Monk.

After keeping their cards close to their chest, with a different name topping the betting list almost on a daily basis, supporters were surprised when it was former APOEL boss Christiansen who shot to the top of the pile - and instant reactions have not been so positive on social media.

Christiansen was approached for talks by United owner Andrea Radrizzani after taking APOEL to the last 16 of the Europa League this season. The 44-year-old, whose playing career started at Barcelona, left APOEL on the same day that Monk resigned as Leeds head coach.

APOEL chose not to renew Christiansen’s 12-month contract despite him taking the Cypriot club into the Europa League’s knockout stages and winning Cyprus’ first division title.

His side topped their Europa League group ahead of Olympiakos and reached the last 16 for the first time after beating Athletic Bilbao over two legs, eventually losing to Anderlecht.

APOEL released him in the wake of losing to Apollon Limassol in the national cup final.

Christiansen’s previous management job was a two-year stint at another Cypriot club, AEK Larnaca, between 2014 and 2016.

Leeds also made contact with Victor Sanchez, who left Real Betis recently, but Christiansen is believed to have given an impressive interview with owner Radrizzani.

Christiansen will be part of a newly restructured management team with Victor Orta the new director of football and Ivan Bravo as a new board member and advisor.

As a player Christiansen was a striker capped by Spain twice despite being born in Denmark. He began at Barcelona before moving to Villarreal, Racing Santander and Hannover.