After letting go of Jesse Marsch earlier this month, Leeds missed out on signing Carlos Corberan of West Brom, Andoni Iraola of Rayo Vallecano, and Arne Slot of Feyenoord. They also backed out of a deal to sign former Ajax coach Alfred Schreuder.
Leeds allowed assistant manager Michael Skubula to handle the team for their weekend match against Everton and their doubleheader against Manchester United after their plans fsiled.
Following intensive internal discussions, they are once again looking for a more long-term solution after the weekend setback at Goodison Park caused them to drop to 19th in the Premier League.
Following discussions Gracia and his team had with Leeds, particularly director of football Victor Orta, Gracia has now established himself as a serious candidate.
Following his 20-month tenure at Watford, Gracia has prior Premier League experience. After twice guiding them to top-flight safety and taking them all the way to the FA Cup final, he quit in September 2019. Leeds is undoubtedly drawn to his story of fighting the plunge.
After leaving Al-Nassr, a major Saudi Arabian club, in early 2022, he is currently unemployed. He had previously spent time at Valencia, which he had joined after leaving Watford.
Benitez, like his countryman Gracia, is currently unemployed after being fired by Everton last year, but Leeds is also interested in him.
The former manager of Newcastle and Liverpool declared over the weekend that he still wants to work in England.