Leeds United sack director of football Victor Orta with Javi Gracia set to follow


Leeds United have sacked director of football Victor Orta after their 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth on Sunday.

Orta – who joined the club from Middlesbrough in 2017 – has received heavy criticism from supporters in recent weeks after their dire run of form under Javi Gracia.

Leeds confirmed the Spaniard had left the club in a statement on Tuesday. 

Leeds have picked up just one point from their past five games, conceding 18 goals in the process as they have been plunged deep into relegation trouble, with the club only outside the bottom three on goal difference.

Manager Javi Gracia has also followed in departing with Orta, with Sam Allardyce agreeing to make a shock return to management in a dramatic shake-up of the club’s football operations.

Leeds have sacked director of football Victor Orta after their 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth

Leeds have sacked director of football Victor Orta after their 4-1 defeat to Bournemouth

Manager Javi Gracia has also been sacked by the club in a brutal cull at Elland Road on Tuesday

Manager Javi Gracia has also been sacked by the club in a brutal cull at Elland Road on Tuesday

Orta (right) has been under significant pressure for some time after failing to successfully replace Marcelo Bielsa and then Jesse Marsch

Orta (right) has been under significant pressure for some time after failing to successfully replace Marcelo Bielsa and then Jesse Marsch

Orta was brought in by owner Andrea Radrizzani in the summer of 2017 after the Italian took over the club from the controversial Massimo Cellino.

‘I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years,’ Radrizzani said.

‘However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club.

‘I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity.

‘We have four cup finals left to play this season and working together, I believe we can survive.’

Orta was widely credited for his initial work that saw Marcelo Bielsa appointed in 2018 as Leeds returned to the Premier League two years later after a 16-year absence. 

However, the decision to bring in Jesse Marsch as the Argentine’s replacement in February 2022 ultimately didn’t work out. Leeds then brought in Gracia in February this year in an attempt to save their season but Leeds look in significant danger of relegation.

Several big-money signings this season under Orta such as Brendan Aaronson (£22.4m) and club-record addition Georginio Rutter (£35.5m) have failed to make an impact, with striker Rutter yet to even score a goal.

Mail Sport understands the dressing room was lacking motivation under Gracia, which resulted in a dire performance at the Vitality Stadium against the Cherries after an initial positive start. 

Mail Sport also understands that Orta wanted to keep Gracia while Radriazinni didn’t – which resulted in both leaving the club following talks on Monday.

Orta’s role had been under mounting scrutiny following the club’s slide down the Premier League table.

Mail Sport first revealed uncertainty over Orta’s position at Elland Road on February 10 following the club’s difficulties in replacing the sacked Marsch.

Orta tried to appoint Andoni Iraola from Rayo Vallecano and Arne Slot from Feyenoord, but failed to lure both.

Having been turned down by a number of managers, Orta eventually appointed Gracia – who has now been dismissed after just two months in charge.

Gracia’s arrival didn’t prevent the club’s slide towards relegation danger, with the Spaniard confronted by irate fans during Sunday’s 4-1 loss at Bournemouth. 

Orta was widely credited for his initial work in appointing Bielsa that saw Leeds return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence

Orta was widely credited for his initial work in appointing Bielsa that saw Leeds return to the Premier League after a 16-year absence

Sam Allardyce has agreed a shock return to management as he steps in and tries to save Leeds

Sam Allardyce has agreed a shock return to management as he steps in and tries to save Leeds

After sacking Marsch, Orta tried to appoint both Andoni Iraola (pictured) from Rayo Vallecano and Arne Slot from Feyenoord, but failed to lure both

He eventually appointed Gracia who has now been dismissed after just two months in charge

After sacking Marsch, Orta tried to appoint Andoni Iraola (left) from Rayo Vallecano and Arne Slot (right) from Feyenoord, but failed to lure both to the club

While Marsch did help to keep Leeds up last season, his appointment was ultimately a failure

While Marsch did help to keep Leeds up last season, his appointment was ultimately a failure

There has been disappointment behind the scenes at Gracia’s appointment and Orta has faced difficult questions as a result.

The uncertainty over Orta’s future, however, has been an issue at Elland Road for a significant period of time.

Leeds’ squad are in at their Thorp Arch training ground on Tuesday for a recovery session before they return to action with a trip to Manchester City on Saturday.

They then host high-flying Newcastle the following weekend and end the season with a trip to West Ham and a home game against Tottenham.

LEEDS STATEMENT ON ORTA 

Leeds United can confirm Victor Orta has left the club by mutual consent.

Victor joined the Whites in the summer of 2017 and helped oversee changes at the club that led to Leeds United being promoted back to the Premier League in 2020.

Over the years Victor and his team have been responsible for recruiting players and staff that have gone on to become legends of the club.

Owner Andrea Radrizzani said: ‘I am deeply saddened by the way that this chapter closes as Victor has been responsible for some of the best moments of my time as owner of Leeds United and I thank him and his people for all they have done in the past six years.

‘However, it is clear that it is time to change direction and therefore we have agreed that Victor will leave the club.

‘I understand supporters are hurt and upset, but now is a time for unity.

‘We have four cup finals left to play this season and working together, I believe we can survive.’



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