Leeds United were linked with plenty of names when Marcelo Bielsa was dismissed around a year ago, with the task to follow the heroics of the Argentine made nearly impossible due to his status in Yorkshire.
He had earned a god-like following for his role in returning the Whites to the Premier League, and despite his sacking was met with widespread adoration from fans, players and pundits alike.
Andrea Radrizzani then saw fit to appoint Jesse Marsch among the battle for the Elland Road hot seat, and the American went about his business.
He led them to narrow safety and was handed two transfer windows of significant investment to ensure relegation would not be a threat to the club again.
But, even after their impressive draw with Manchester United, they still remain just one point away from the drop zone. He failed his mission and was deservedly sacked.
It therefore draws the question as to why the hierarchy opted for Marsch when the potential alternatives all offered far greater upsides.
Should Leeds have appointed Valverde?
With hindsight, it is obviously easy to admit that, but someone boasting the pedigree of Ernesto Valverde should always have been preferred. The Spaniard was noted as a candidate for the vacancy whilst a free agent, yet was snubbed.
Now impressing once again with Athletic Bilbao, it offers a stark reminder of what could have been.
Whilst the aesthetic of the 59-year-old’s football has often been drawn into question, particularly during his time in Barcelona, it cannot be doubted that it brings results. His time at the Nou Camp saw him secure two La Liga titles and one Copa Del Rey, yet was sacked with his side once again top of the league for issues with his play style.
Despite this, the legend and current manager of the Catalan giants remains fond of him: “He is an extraordinary person and he did excellent work here at Barça.”
Favouring a direct style, his pragmatism would benefit a Leeds side that have been leaking goals. They have conceded 36 goals already in just 21 games.
However, in games where his side is expected to win, Valverde has the flexibility to shift to a more possession-dominant belief.
Tactical dexterity like this in their time of need would have been perfect, and should he have been handed the reins a year ago it is unlikely they would find themselves in their current state.
It marks one of Radrizzani’s biggest blunders thus far to opt against his appointment, which he could fix by now moving in once again for an unlikely but exciting hire.