Amid reports that AFA president Claudio Tapia is heading to Spain to hold talks with Sevilla manager Jorge Sampaoli after the sacking of Edgardo Bauza as Argentina manager, the Spanish club have fired back in a statement threatening legal action.
Sampaoli is widely regarded to be the AFA’s first choice to fill the now vacant managerial role with Argentina but is under contract to Sevilla until the end of next season.
The Copa América winning coach lifted the Andalusian club to title contenders until their recent dip in form and despite an extension of Sampaoli’s deal having not been agreed yet, Sevilla are keen to retain the 57-year-old.
Sevilla president José Castro told the club’s official website: “We are not officially aware that the AFA is coming for Sampaoli.
“He [Sampaoli] always says that he has received calls and that he has offers but that he is happy at Sevilla and we are happy with him.”
However, after Monday’s night’s press conference in Argentina that confirmed Edgardo Bauza’s departure as national team coach, Claudio Tapia and Marcelo Tinelli have made plans to fly to Spain and speak with Sampaoli, Diego Simeone and Lionel Messi regarding the position.
In response Sevilla released the following statement that leaves no doubt as to their view on the proposed meeting:
“With regard to the information appearing in various media outlets, both local and international, in relation to the interest of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) in hiring Jorge Sampaoli as their national team coach – with an existing contract until 2018 – and with regards to the declarations of the same vein made by said association’s president, Claudio Tapia, on his intention of holding a meeting in Spain with the Sevilla coach in the upcoming days.
“Sevilla FC has today sent a letter to the AFA in which it states that, in the case of these comments being true, Sevilla FC would consider it a lack of respect, and at the same time unacceptable, any meeting or contact with the coach leading to a breaking of contract with the club, and thus will not think twice about considering their legal options.”
With Sevilla sporting director Monchi leaving the club, it is understood that Sampaoli is ready to leave and eager for a return to international management with Argentina.
Sevilla have made it clear that they will not make this easy and the AFA must now tread carefully .