Leeds United go over to the Darko side as Milanic quits Graz

Slovene will be confirmed as the club's new manager on Monday

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The Independent Football

Leeds United will confirm Darko Milanic as their new manager on Monday, after the Slovene left Sturm Graz over the weekend.

At a press conference on Sunday the Austrian Bundesliga club announced that Milanic had triggered a release clause in his contract and was free to finalise negotiations with Leeds.

“He had a release clause and this was bought out fully,” said Sturm’s general manager, Gerhard Goldbrich. “And it was pretty quickly clear that we were not going to stand in his way, when he was being given such an opportunity.”

Milanic had been with Sturm for just over a year, guiding them to a fifth-place finish in the 10-club Bundesliga last season. Before that the former Yugoslavia and Slovenia defender, who played at Euro 2000, enjoyed considerable success in his homeland with Maribor.

“I actually wanted to stay here for longer, but then this offer arrived which I could not turn down,” Milanic said of the prospect of taking over at Leeds. “You’ve got to take chances like this because you never know whether one will come again.”

He takes over a side which has been stabilised by caretaker manager Neil Redfearn following the departure of Dave Hockaday last month after just 70 days in charge. Leeds beat Yorkshire rivals Huddersfield Town 3-0 at Elland Road on Saturday, their third win in four games under Redfearn. However, controversial owner Massimo Cellino has opted not to give him the job permanently and has gone for Milanic instead.

Orient’s manager, Russell Slade, is still waiting to hear if he has been granted permission to talk to Cardiff City about their managerial vacancy. Slade, under pressure from the new Orient owner, Francesco Becchetti, after a poor start to the season, revealed on Saturday that Cardiff were interested in opening talks about him succeeding Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

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