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Jorge Sampaoli emerges as the favourite to replace Julen Lopetegui at Sevilla

Julen Lopetegui’s future at Sevilla remains uncertain, and the club have already begun shortlisting potential replacements for the Spanish head coach.

According to Cadena SER, Jorge Sampaoli could return to the Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán Stadium as the Nervionenses have identified the Argentine manager as the favourite for the job.

Sampaoli is currently a free agent after leaving Olympique de Marseille at the end of last season. 

He guided Les Olympiens to a second-place finish, albeit with a massive 15-point gap to eventual league winners Paris Saint-Germain.

The 62-year-old tactician could yet return to the Andalusian capital where he was in charge for the 2016/17 campaign as Lopetegui’s sack looms.

Despite being handed an ultimatum to reverse the club’s downward spiral, Saturday’s 2-0 home loss to Atletico Madrid means Sevilla have taken just five points from a possible 21.

They are 17th in La Liga, just one point above the relegation zone, after winning one of their opening seven games (D2, L4).

Their poor form has constituted their worst start to a La Liga season in the club’s history.

It was thought Lopetegui would be axed after the humiliating loss to Manchester City in their opening Champions League group game. But the Sevilla hierarchy handed him one more chance to save his job.

He won the next game at Espanyol but drew against FC Copenhagen and Villarreal. The loss to Atletico has now put the Spaniard’s job back in the red zone.

Lopetegui, who led Sevilla to three consecutive top-four finishes in La Liga and Europa League glory in 2020, could now be sacked, with agitated fans calling for a change in the dugout.

Sevilla were reportedly interested in bringing former PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino to the Estadio Ramon.

However, Sampaoli is a more familiar figure within the Sevilla hierarchy, and the Argentine could be the man to rescue the season for the Rojiblancos.

Lopetegui remains at the helm but only until the club have finalised a replacement. He will take charge of Sevilla’s midweek Champions League tie against Borussia Dortmund. 

However, there are serious doubts that the former Porto head coach will be on the bench next weekend against Athletic Club.

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