Michael Laudrup has become the first manager to rule out taking the Leeds United job, instead committing his future to Qatar side Al-Rayyan. The Dane was named among the bookmakers' favourites to move to Elland Road following the resignation of Garry Monk last week, but he looks set to spurn interest from the club.
Though the Whites enjoyed an encouraging campaign, Monk tendered his resignation last week before new owner Andrea Radrizzani could activate a clause to extend his contract by 12 months. While Middlesbrough, Crystal Palace and Watford were left jostling to recruit the 38-year-old, Leeds are ready to appoint their 11th different manager in four years.
Laudrup was immediately named as the leading contender to succeed Monk at Leeds, leading to the former Barcelona and Real Madrid forward to address the speculation. The 52-year-old, who has endured a chequered managerial career since leaving Swansea City in 2014, has no plans to move to West Yorkshire.
"The season has ended in various leagues, so there are now plenty of rumours for both players and coaches," he told Danish publication Ekstra Bladet. "I have another year's contract in Al Rayyan, and as I continue to thrive, I will complete it."
Since being sacked by Swansea, Laudrup moved to Lekhwiya in the Qatar Stars League – winning the double in his first season. He switched to Al-Rayyan last October, guiding them to a third-place finish and qualification for the AFC Champions League play-off.
Ex-Boro boss Aitor Karanka, Premier League title winner Claudio Ranieri and former boss Simon Grayson – currently of Preston North End – are among the contenders for the vacant position at Leeds, who last played in the top flight in 2004. The club occupied a top six spot for much of last term but failure to win their last four games saw them drop out of play-off contention.