Bielsa Rumored for USA Job

Wednesday, July 07, 2010 | View Comments
June 25, 2010 - 06088699 date 25 06 2010 Copyright imago BPI Chile Manager Marcelo Bielsa PUBLICATIONxNOTxINxUKxFRAxNEDxESPxSWExPOLxCHNxJPN Football men World Cup National team international match Tshwane Pretoria Portrait Vdig 2010 horizontal Highlight premiumd Football.

Friend of the blog Max Zeger dropped a fairly large bombshell on Twitter today: per an Argentinian source, Chile head man Marcelo Bielsa is a candidate to take over for Bob Bradley. The Argentinian's resume, which includes a stint as Argentina manager, makes him an intriguing possibility.

The news comes with more than a handful of salt. Bielsa, like Bradley, has yet to sort out his immediate future. Chile would like to sign him to an extension, and the U.S. aren't the only country interested, either; Japan and Mexico are also reportedly after his services.

If there's more to this than rumor, it would represent a significant philosophical shift, at least on the surface. Bielsa is very attack-minded; his typical formation is a 3-3-1-3, something Kevin McCauley of All Things Footy had some fun with in light of the rumor. As Kevin notes, it's hard to imagine Bielsa not shifting his formation a bit to account for the American talent pool's strengths and weaknesses; we don't really have the creative midfielders to stick comfortably into the system.

Again, this is purely rumor at this point. Max trusts his source; that might mean that the information is good and that contact has been made, but it's far from an indication that there's been an actual offer.

Off the field, the concerns about Bielsa involve his distaste for the press. At a time when media attention on the National Team is the highest its ever been, a coach who refuses to give interviews and might ruffle some feathers would be an interesting choice.

Bielsa's nickname is "El Loco." For some insight into the man, here is a passage from Michael J. Agovino's profile of Bielsa for The Atlantic:

He's a paradox, Bielsa: a tactician obsessed with attacking soccer; a free thinker who's also a disciplinarian; a man in the most public eye who wants to be left alone, with his game videos. My friend Alberto Fuguet, the Chilean novelist, filmmaker, and leader of the anti-Magic Realism "McOndo" movement, doesn't like soccer, not one bit. But he is, like the rest of his country, fascinated by El Loco and suggests he wants to be the J.D. Salinger or Thomas Pynchon of futbol.

Bielsa would certainly spice things up.

Amending this to add a link to an interview with Chilean player agent Jorge Burgos by L. E. Eisenmenger. Note that although Bielsa won't do one-on-one interviews, he's famous for lengthy press conferences in which he answers every question and explains his decisions in unusual depth.
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