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Marseille 'agree deal' to hire Bielsa

Marseille president Vincent Labrune has declared he has reached "an agreement in principle" with Marcelo Bielsa to become the club's coach next season.

Marcelo Bielsa was appointed Athletic manager in 2011
Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola has cited Bielsa as a major influence on his career.

Bielsa, 58, is back in his native Argentina after a lengthy stay in France during which he took in a number of OM matches, visited the club's facilities and held talks with the 1992-93 Champions League-winners about taking over first-team coaching duties at the Stade Velodrome.

After missing out on Andre Villas-Boas as a replacement for Elie Baup, who was sacked in December, Labrune told media following Sunday's 0-0 draw with Lille that he had all but closed the deal with Bielsa.

"We agree on the sporting project, which is something that interests him and which speaks to him," he said. "You could say that we have an agreement in principle, which remains subject to the drawing up of the contract and the legal side of things. But at this moment in time, without being absolutely euphoric, you can consider us relatively confident that things will be seen through and that we can have a great coach for next season."

Former Argentina and Chile boss Bielsa has been out of work since leaving Athletic Bilbao when his contract expired last summer, just a year after spearheading the Basque club's thrilling run to the Europa League final.

He will take over from Jose Anigo, who moved from his role as Marseille's sporting director to take charge of the first team after Baup was sacked, and is expected to sign a three-year deal at OM. 

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