Leeds United have moved to appoint the former manager of Apoel Nicosia in Cyprus as their new head coach. Thomas Christiansen, a former Spanish international who played for his country twice in 1993, has signed a contract to replace Garry Monk who left the club in May.
The 44-year-old Spaniard was in charge of the team from the Cypriot capital in the First Division last season and led them to the title in what turned out to be his best season in charge. The former Barcelona man becomes the Yorkshire club’s 6th manager since Brian McDermott parted ways with the club back in 2014.
All of the managerial experience has been gained in Cyprus, with his only other job having managed AEK Larnaka between 2014 and 2016.
Although they did well not to make it known too much, Leeds United have reported that the Spaniard was on their radar right from the beginning of their hunt for a new manager. Having announced himself as the ideal candidate, Christiansen has been given the unenviable task of taking Leeds to where the club and the fans believe they deserve to be – the Premier League.
Former Leeds boss Garry Monk exercised his right not to renew his contract and has since gone on to take the manager’s job at rivals Middlesbrough. The former Swansea boss will be a tough act to follow too as he had the Elland Road side playing good football and at one stage, sitting third in the Championship last season before a poor season saw them end seventh and miss out on a promotion spot.
However, Christiansen is looking to better what Monk had achieved. Born in Denmark, the former Barcelona man qualified for Spain through his mother and played not only there, but in Denmark, Germany and Greece during his playing career.
The amiable character should be given a good reception by Leeds fans who await his tactics and style of play. In Cyprus, an attacking 4-3-3 was often used and this could be popular among some sections of the crowd, though a more defensive-minded 4-5-1 was also often employed.
Christiansen appears to be a very ambitious manager and one who doesn’t seem to baulk at stepping up in such a big way so soon in his coaching career. Leeds are indeed a huge club and this could be seen as a risk. However, I would venture to suggest they could have done a lot worse than this man and may yet have something to look forward to next season.