Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has revealed that the club targeted Premier League-winning managers Claudio Ranieri and Antonio Conte before settling for Marcelo Bielsa.
The ambitious Whites pulled off a major coup by landing the highly-regarded Argentine boss during the summer, instantly setting him the target of earning promotion to the Premier League.
Bielsa has made a perfect start to life at Elland Road, winning all three Championship outings and progressing in the EFL Cup, but Radrizzani admits that Leeds were aiming even higher when searching for a new manager.
"Conte [was on the list] and with him, we would have been certain of promotion to the Premier League," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport. "I would even have offered him €20m. Then I interviewed Ranieri who was attracted by our interest, but declined as he was waiting for a call from a top-flight club.
"I even spoke to [Roberto] Martinez, but Belgium were an obstacle. At the end of May, I spoke with our director of football [Victor] Orta and he said Bielsa would be ideal, but that it would be impossible.
"Those words just motivated me even more and we negotiated for a few days then reached an agreement at £3m, which he shares with his staff, and a one-year plus one-year option as duration. We finished negotiations after ten hours of conversation in Buenos Aires.
"He'd studied 20 of our games and already knew all the players, including the youngsters. It seemed impossible to get him here, but he's our top player. We are a Premier League club, and even more so with him."