Marcelo Bielsa plans to offer Leeds stalwart Gaetano Berardi a coaching role while he recovers from his serious knee injury.
Berardi damaged his anterior cruciate ligament in Leeds’ penultimate game of last season’s Championship-winning campaign against Derby in July.
Leeds handed the Swiss defender a new deal at the weekend until the end of the season because his old one expired in July, even though he is still months away from playing.
Berardi, 32, is Leeds’ longest-serving player, having signed from Sampdoria six years ago, and Bielsa wants to tap into his knowledge while he recovers by making him a coach at Thorp Arch.
Leeds paid for Gaetano’s operation in Barcelona when he was technically no longer their player and managing director Angus Kinnear claims it is important the club looks after such loyal servants.
Writing in his programme notes for Monday’s match against Wolves, Kinnear said: “This week we welcomed Gaetano Berardi back to Thorp Arch.
“As supporters know, Gaetano cruelly tore his ACL at the end of last season contributing to our title-winning cause despite technically being out of contract.
“While we know Gaetano would have happily performed the operation himself – making the incision with a rusty stud key and stitching the wound with a discarded boot lace – the club had him treated at a state-of-the-art facility in Barcelona with the intention of extending his contract for another year.
“His return to the field is some way off, but the value he adds off the pitch is just as great as that on it and Marcelo has the intention of using his experience and passion in a coaching capacity as he recuperates.”