Jorge Sampaoli is on the move, but where could he land next?
The 55-year-old Argentine manager has been the head coach of the Chile national football team since 2012, and he's orchestrated some pretty marvelous moments for the organization. Just last year, Sampaoli led Chile to their first-ever win in the Copa America, leading the soccer squad to a narrow, nail-biting victory over the Lionel Messi-led Argentina team. The championship match was an evenly matched contest if there ever was one, with the score still tied 0-0 after 120 minutes of full-time and extra time. Chile won the shootout 4-1, with Messi the only player from Argentina's side to make his penalty kick.
Add a solid round of 16 runs in the 2014 World Cup and a promising squad that included Arturo Vidal and Alexis Sanchez, and Chile seemed to have hit a new high-water mark under Sampaoli. The manager even earned a 2015 Coach of the Year nomination from FIFA. Now, though, the coach has resigned from his job following a reported dispute with Arturo Salah, the new president of the Football Federation of Chile.
A New Challenge
So where will Sampaoli go next? In the past, the Argentine manager has never coached a big-name soccer club, nor has he ever coached outside of South America. His longest stint (other than the Chile national team job) was with Peru's Coronel Bolognesi, where he coached from 2004 to 2006. Other than that, Sampaoli has bounced around a fair amount since starting his managerial career in 1994.
However, after building Chile into a strong, potentially World Cup-contending team, it's assumed that Sampaoli will be a more in-demand commodity this time around. Chile is currently ranked fifth in FIFA's world rankings-a placement that could well make the Premier League, the La Liga, or the Bundesliga a feasible destination for Sampaoli. Regardless of where he ends up, you can bet that Jorge Sampaoli will be facing an entirely new challenge come autumn.
Off to Stamford Bridge?
So where could Jorge end up? Right now, the biggest rumors point to the former Chile boss as a potential new leader for Chelsea. The Blues, of course, sacked Jose Mourinho at the end of 2015, following a dismal start to the current soccer season. His replacement, Guus Hiddink, has managed to get things a little bit more under control. However, since Hiddink is only an interim boss, he will be gone by summer, which means that Chelsea will be looking to bring yet another new face to the top job at Stamford Bridge.
Jorge Sampaoli is not the top choice to fill that role. It's a thinly-veiled secret in the football world that Chelsea wanted to hire Pep Guardiola once the Spaniard steps down from his post at Bayern Munich. However, it is now confirmed that Guardiola will be appointed at Manchester City, and Chelsea will have to follow another route. Their second choice, Atletico Madrid's Diego Simeone, seems unlikely to leave Spain, so Sampaoli In fact, according to Metro, Sampaoli is the 2/1 favorite to become Chelsea's next permanent manager.
As of yet, there are no other real rumors of where Jorge could end up-something that only gives further credence to the speculation that he's bound for Stamford Bridge. With that said, there is still a lot of time before the end of the season, which means that other coaching prospects could emerge for the former Chile national team manager. In any case, Sampaoli won't likely be taking a job at Chelsea before the summer, since the Blues won't want to make another coaching shakeup between now and the end of the 2015/16 campaign.
Where do you think Jorge Sampaoli belongs? Would you be interested to see what he might be able to do at Stamford Bridge, or do you think he would be more successful at some other lower profile football club? Stop by Soccer Box today to pick up a new Chelsea shirt 2015/16! Then, follow us on social media to keep up to date with the latest Premier League managerial changes. You can find Soccer Box on multiple social platforms including Twitter, Tumblr, and Google +.