Marcelo Bielsa tops list of candidates to become next Mexico head coach - sources

Why Bielsa would be a better fit for the USMNT over Mexico (1:56)

Herculez Gomez and Sebastian Salazar debate whether Marcelo Bielsa would be a good candidate to manage either Mexico or the USMNT. (1:56)

The Mexican Football Federation (FMF) have listed former Leeds United coach Marcelo Bielsa as their ideal candidate to manage Mexico's men's national team, sources told ESPN MX's David Faitelson.

Faitelson broke the news on Monday, later listing a gameplan that the FMF have in mind following the end of Gerardo "Tata" Martino's contract as Mexico's head coach after the 2022 World Cup.

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"The candidate that keeps them [the FMF] up at night is Marcelo Bielsa, they want Bielsa," said Faitelson during an episode of Futbol Picante. "If it's not Bielsa, there are other candidates."

According to the report, other alternatives for the FMF include Ignacio Ambriz, Matias Almeyda, Antonio "Turco" Mohamed, Guillermo Almada, and former Mexico coaches Miguel Herrera, Ricardo "Tuca" Ferretti and Juan Carlos Osorio.

The national team is scrambling to find a replacement for Martino after an underwhelming exit in the group stage of the World Cup. In preparation for the next edition of the tournament that they'll co-host with the United States and Canada in 2026, Mexico's new cycle will soon kick-off with CONCACAF Nations League matches in March and this summer's Gold Cup.

Faitelson also divulged other details for the FMF's gameplan in a post-Martino era, which include: Hiring a new manager before March's Nations League games, limiting the amount of staff the new hire would bring, making the vacant U23 coach position an automatic assistant for the senior manager, aiming to bring in El Tri legend Rafael Marquez and/or former Mexico U23 coach Jaime Lozano as assistants, requiring the new manager to move to Mexico City, and creating an advisory committee made up of former national team coaches.

The big question is if someone as famously eccentric as Bielsa, nicknamed "El Loco," would be willing to buy into Mexico's demands. The Argentine is a well-known football obsessive that has no lack of unconventional moments in his coaching past.

During 2016, he spent two days as manager of Serie A's Lazio before quitting. A few years later in 2019 as coach of Leeds United, Bielsa held an impromptu 70-minute press conference detailing 300+ hours worth of analysis work amid a "spygate" scandal. According to a report from Marca last summer about his possible demands for taking over Peru's men's national team, Bielsa also included wanting to control the U20 team in order to build his philosophy of play.

Bielsa is out of a job after being fired by Leeds early last year. The 67-year-old was first brought on by the English club in 2018, eventually reviving them and gaining promotion from the Championship to the Premier League in 2020. A difficult second season in the Premier League led to Bielsa being dropped by February of 2022.

Mexico are seeking a rebuild after their recent group stage exit in the World Cup, snapping a seven-tournament run since 1994 in which they have previously qualified for every knockout round.