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Argentina yet to begin talks with Sevilla coach Jorge Sampaoli

The Argentina Football Association (AFA) has yet to negotiate with Sevilla over the release of their coach Jorge Sampaoli from his contract.

Sampaoli is tied to Sevilla until June 2018 but can leave this summer provided his €1.5 million release clause is met.

AFA president Claudio Tapia told ESPN FC last month that Sampaoli is the only candidate for the vacant Argentina coaching position but that officials would wait until the end of the season before starting negotiations.

Asked about his future, Sampaoli told his club's official website after Sunday's 4-1 defeat at Real Madrid: "I'm not going to acknowledge something that does not exist, it doesn't exist in an official manner, which is what matters.

"The rest has to do with contracts, clauses. If there are no talks between the club and AFA, it doesn't exist."

Argentina have been without a coach since Edgardo Bauza was dismissed on April 10 after eight months in charge with the Albiceleste's 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in jeopardy.

Sevilla president Jose Castro warned the AFA it would have to pay Sampaoli's release clause in full before he could leave.

Argentina are hoping to have Sampaoli on board as soon as possible but it is unlikely that the former Chile coach will be unveiled on May 22, one day after Sevilla's final game of the season at home to Osasuna, as reports in Spain recently claimed.

Argentina have two international friendlies coming up, against Brazil in Melbourne on June 6 and at Singapore a week later.

The Albiceleste are fifth in their South American qualifying group for the World Cup and resume their qualifying campaign away to Uruguay on Aug. 31. Only the top four sides will qualify directly for the tournament that is to be staged in Russia.

In the meantime, Sampaoli, who is completing his first campaign as coach in Europe, is focusing on ending the season in the best possible way.

Sevilla have already sealed fourth spot in La Liga and a place in Champions League qualifying for 2017-18.

The Andalusian club endured their worst defeat under Sampaoli, a 4-1 loss at Real Madrid on Sunday, and end the campaign at the Sanchez Pizjuan stadium on Sunday in what is likely to be the coach's last game in charge.

"It has been a tough season and we hope that the fans will give the team a deserved farewell," Sampaoli said. "Having been 34 rounds out of 37 in the top four positions in La Liga, that would be what this team deserves."

Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.


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