Marseille close to Sampaoli agreement, Ferreira rejects approach

After the dismissal of Andre Villas-Boas, Marseille have approached two of the top coaches in Brazilian football as a possible replacement.
Jorge Sampaoli - Atlético-MG
© Atlético Mineiro

Two of the top coaches in Brazilian football are attracting interest from Ligue 1 side Olympique de Marseille.

This comes in the wake of Andre Villas-Boas’ dismissal. It was inevitable a decision would be made on the Portuguese but his latest action perhaps sealed the deal.

Villas-Boas already found himself under pressure after a woeful run of four successive defeats with Marseille. Not to forget that Les Gones already got knocked out of the Champions League group stages this season as well.

However, the decision to suspend the 43-year-old came after he publicly spoke against the club’s signing of Celtic forward Olivier Ntcham.

The French outfit already have a shortlist of candidates to replace Villas-Boas and it includes two managers currently plying their trade in Brazil.

Top of the list is Atletico-MG manager Jorge Sampaoli. Several reports even claim the Argentine manager has already agreed a deal in principle to take over as Marseille boss.

Impressive work during his stint with Sevilla and his time as Chile boss gave Sampaoli much attention as a manager. He also learnt most of his style from veteran tactician Marcelo Bielsa and it’s no surprise.

However, there could be snag. The Brazilian Championship doesn’t end until February 26 and it’s reported that Sampaoli would only make a move by then. Atletico-MG remain in the Brasilerao title race and it won’t make sense for him to depart the club at this stage.

Given Marseille’s poor form at the moment, it remains to be seen if they would want to wait that long.

Another manager in the shortlist by Marseille is Palmeiras boss Abel Ferreira. Fresh from winning the Copa Libertadores with Verdão, the Portuguese was also contacted by the Ligue 1 side.

However, Ferreira is only focused on the Club World Cup with his side and is also reported to be happy with his current role and leadership of the club. The 42-year-old is on contract with Palmeiras until 2022 and he intends to honor that contract.

Marseille also contacted former Juve boss Maurizio Sarri but he rejected as he was not interested in managing a team midway through the season.

The French side might now have to stick with interim boss until the Brazilian Championship is over. Sampaoli remains the frontrunner for the next Marseille boss but a lot can happen within the next couple weeks.