Just weeks after Sevilla clinched an unprecedented third consecutive Europa League triumph, the Andalusians seem set to undergo managerial change. With Unai Emery’s exit confirmed, Los Rojiblancos are closing in on 56-year-old Argentine Jorge Sampaoli. Meanwhile, the departing coach is to progress his own career by replacing Laurent Blanc at big-spending Paris Saint-Germain. The official statement announcing Emery’s decision to leave also mentioned that talks with the former Universidad de Chile trainer are underway, although some media outlets believe discussions are at a more advanced stage.
Sampaoli’s assistant, Juanma Lillo, whom he worked with during his time in charge of the Chilean national team has reportedly already arrived in Sevilla, further fuelling talk his signature is imminent. Sporting Director Monchi, who now looks likely to remain at the club for the foreseeable future, has designs on a post-Emery project and views Sampaoli as the ideal man to lead the club forward.The Santa Fe native garnered widespread acclaim due to his side’s proactive approach during the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Since leaving his post in January after a dispute with the Chilean FA, he has been a highly sought-after coach across Europe. In addition to Sevilla, both Valencia and FC Porto have been linked with a move to secure his services. In truth, talk of moves to Granada or indeed Brazilian giants Flamengo never seemed probable at any point.
Despite the fact Sampaoli’s appointment is yet to be confirmed, rumours have inevitably led to talk of who could join him in terms of summer signings. Brazilian journalist Bruno Andrade reported via his Ora Bolas column that the club are interested in São Paulo duo; 22-year-old central defender Rodrigo Caio and 26-year-old attacking midfielder Paulo Henrique Ganso. Although such talk is premature, Caio’s impressive versatility means he is a player who would no doubt fit within Sampaoli’s coaching philosophy.
Estádio Deportivo have also speculated on some potential additions to the Sevilla squad, after Sampaoli puts pen to paper. Atlético Madrid midfielder Óliver Torres and Real Madrid central defender Nacho Fernández, who is also wanted by Italian giants Roma, are just two of the names mentioned as being on the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán club’s radar.The two biggest influences on Sampaoli’s professional ideology – Marcelo Bielsa and Pep Guardiola – are era-defining coaches and so these are exciting times for Sevilla. Sampaoli’s recent track-record of high-intensity football makes him an ideal candidate to succeed Unai Emery. Given the profile of clubs he has garnered interest from, his arrival would represent a significant coup for one with the ambition of the Andalusians who are now surely looking to make their mark in the Champions League.