Speaking exclusively to Football Insider, the former Leeds striker claimed it is worth splashing out big money for a head coach who can transform a side.
As reported by the Daily Mail, Newcastle are willing to give Ajax boss Erik Ten Hag an £11million-a-year contract.
Only Pep Guardiola and Jurgen Klopp are said to be on bigger wages.
Whelan insisted a top manager is worth their weight in gold.
He pointed to Leeds’ transformation under Bielsa as a prime example.
Whelan told Football Insider’s Russell Edge: “It’s no different to Leeds United and Marcelo Bielsa.
“I think it pays dividends, spending that extra on a manager who’s going to educate a team. They rebuild the team, give them the identity that they need, give them the positional education that they need.
“He educates them what he wants from them specifically in their position, then collectively as a team. That’s how you rebuild it.
“Marcelo Bielsa is the blueprint for that. The way he has educated the players, the way he has completely switched this Leeds United team. They were pretty much the same players and he’s switched them into Premier League players.
“Getting them up, there weren’t too many additions. He just educated them, worked hard with them. Got them to a certain way and brought them all together. That’s what he wants.
Leeds earned promotion in Bielsa’s second season at Elland Road with a squad similar to the one he inherited.