Jorge Sampaoli said Friday he would be unable to refuse an offer to coach Argentina’s national team as speculation mounts about an impending return to his homeland.
The 57-year-old Sevilla coach is favorite to assume the position, made vacant by Edgardo Bauza’s departure in April.
But the move hinges on whether the Argentine Football Association (AFA) agrees to pay Sevilla’s release clause for Sampaoli, reportedly set at 1.5 million euros.
“My dream since I was young was to coach my national team,” Sampaoli told a press conference.
“My country has a clear intention to offer me the job. I would only leave here [Sevilla] if it were to coach my country. It’s an offer that I wouldn’t be able to refuse.
Sampaoli, who led Chile to victory at the 2015 Copa America, has guided Sevilla to fourth in Spain’s La Liga standings in his first season at the club.
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Regardless of the result of their last match against Osasuna on Saturday, the Andalusian side are guaranteed of their best league finish since 2010.
“The situation is something that is being resolved now,” said Sampaoli. “It couldn’t be done earlier because there were a lot of things to discuss.
“Now we can talk about it because we have reached our goals, but it’s not in my hands. If they don’t resolve their issues I won’t be going anywhere. I’m not going to leave Sevilla for another club.”
Argentina are currently fifth in the 10-team South America zone World Cup qualifying standings with four games remaining.
Only the first four teams at the end of the qualifying tournament will earn an automatic slot in Russia. The fifth-ranked side will advance to a playoff against the top nation from Oceania.