Monday’s scheduled meeting between Argentina coach Edgardo Bauza and AFA president Claudio Tapia didn’t take place but a decision to replace the 59-year-old has already been made with Jorge Sampaoli, favourite to fill Patón’s shoes.
Growing reports in Argentina suggest that Tapia and the new AFA hierarchy have assessed the side’s worrying World Cup qualification form and will fire Bauza this week, potentially at another meeting scheduled for Wednesday.
Jorge Sampaoli has immediately emerged as the front runner despite being contracted to Sevilla until June 2018 and although the Copa América winning coach has denied any contact with the AFA as of yet, reports suggest that the 57-year-old will be offered a long-term contract that runs until the 2022 World Cup.
Whether the AFA have the finances available to make such a move or whether Sampaoli would wish to leave Sevilla for what is a highly unstable working environment remains to be seen but with plenty of admirers, the AFA are hoping that with sporting director Monchi departing Sevilla, their number one target could be persuaded.
Bauza has won only three of his eight games in charge and with World Cup qualification uncertain is now clinging to his job.
However, the under-fire coach remains confident in his ability and that he will remain in charge.
“I am confident, calm and strong to continue as coach,” Bauza said on Sunday.
“I spoke with [AFA president Claudio] Tapia and we planned the trips for the future, I don’t feel as if the board don’t support me.
“If I get sacked, I’ll get up and go home [but] I still think Argentina can be world champions. I still think we will qualify.
Nothing is certain as of yet and while speculation that Bauza will be fired increases, who the AFA can get to replace him would be far more difficult to predict. Sampaoli, at this point, remains nothing more than a dream for the AFA.