Reports: Jorge Sampaoli to be overlooked for Barcelona job
The Catalans have turned their attention elsewhere following Sevilla's surprise exit in the Champions League.
What’s the story?
Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli will not be the man to replace Luis Enrique at the helm of Barcelona next season. Following Enrique’s announcement that he will be stepping down as Barcelona’s manager at the end of the season, Sampaoli had been identified as a potential replacement and immediately became one of the frontrunners for the job.
However, reports have it that the Argentine was ruled out by the Barcelona board after his side’s elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Leicester City.
Sampaoli, however, soon after being linked with the job, was quoted saying, “The Barcelona job? That question has no answer because it doesn't exist, I have no idea what is being said, at this stage of the season to speak of candidates doesn't make sense. I am connected with this sporting project at Sevilla to death.''
He further added when asked about his plans to extend his contract with Sevilla, "We still haven't met with representatives to express our future projects within the structure of the club. But to be sure, there are intentions to do so.''
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Sampaoli had joined the list of favourites to replace the current Barcelona boss after Enrique announced that he would be stepping down as the manager at the end of the season.
The heart of the matter
The only reason the Argentine manager was even considered was because Barcelona had encountered a poor run of form and the board did not like the way the current manager, Enrique was running the club, but ever since Lucho decided to step down, performances improved.
This led the board to decide against making major changes and according to reports, Sampaoli will not take over at Barcelona, with the club deciding to turn their attention elsewhere.
A major factor which went against the former Chile manager is that while he has proved himself to be a brilliant coach, it’s only his first season as a manager in Europe and he has no connection to Barcelona.
Meanwhile, his side’s loss to Leicester City in the second leg of the Champions League last 16, which led to them being knocked out, has further pushed the Argentine down the pecking order.
Barcelona now feel that no major change is required at Camp Nou and have thus turned their attentions to Enrique’s number 2, Carlos Unzue, who is being widely tipped to take over at the end of the season.
Now that the Catalan club have been spared the humiliation of a last-16 exit to PSG, they are willing to play it safe, which means Sampaoli is no longer an option. This, however, will allow Sampaoli to build on his experience with Sevilla and thus make them a force to be reckoned with next season.
The fact that Barcelona are no longer interested in Sampaoli can only be good news for Sevilla. Their exit in the Champions League was surprising, however, it was hardly the manager’s fault.
Sampaoli has proven in the past that he’s a world class manager capable of taking his team to new heights and he has done that to a certain extent with Sevilla as they sit in the third spot in the La Liga, five points behind league leaders Real Madrid.