La Liga 2016/17: Barcelona target Jorge Sampaoli vows to remain at Sevilla till 'death'
The search for Luis Enrique's replacement at Barcelona continues
What’s the Story?
Sevilla’s current manager Jorge Sampaoli has rejected rumours of a move to Barcelona, after being incessantly linked with the job in the last few weeks. Touted as Luis Enrique’s replacement, Sampaoli shot down those questions after Sevilla’s recent game, saying “The Barcelona job? That question has no answer because it doesn't exist. I am connected with this sporting project at Sevilla to death.”
In case you didn’t know...
As a manager, Sampaoli came to the limelight in South America after winning the Copa Sudamericana with Universidad de Chile, following which he took over the Chilean national team. He rose to worldwide fame when he led La Roja to their first ever Copa America title in 2015, following which he quit a year later.
The heart of the matter
Jorge Sampaoli signed a two year contract with Sevilla at the start of the season, and has quickly become a fan-favourite at the Andalusian club. His high octane style of football, gleaned from his time as Marcelo Bielsa’s pupil, has seen Sevilla rise up the table as they are firmly in La Liga’s title race, just two points off Barcelona at the top.
It’s no wonder then, that with Luis Enrique having announced his decision to leave the Catalan giants at the end of the season, that Sampaoli’s name would come up in the discussions. Lionel Messi has suffered at the hands of Sampaoli for his national side, but the Argentinian wizard is reportedly a huge admirer of his compatriot.
However, Sampaoli has poured cold water on a possible move, going so far as to say that ‘there are intentions to’ extend his contract after it runs down in 2017/18.
With Sampaoli having committed to stay with Sevilla, Barcelona are fast running out of candidates that would be considered first-choice. In addition to the Sevilla manager, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has also taken himself out of the running, as has current Athletic Bilbao boss Ernesto Valverde.
Sampaoli rejecting Barcelona is perhaps a surprising decision by the former Chile boss – but he is no stranger to emotional decisions. Sampaoli prefers being the underdog – which he will certainly not be as Barca boss. The Catalans are one of the biggest clubs in world football – and despite the high-pressure job hounding Pep Guardiola and Luis Enrique out of the position, Barcelona still have plenty of high-profile suitors to consider.