The Argentine Football Association (AFA) were up to their usual bad habits last night as news of a reported pay dispute threatened the imminent appointment of Jorge Sampaoli as Argentina’s head coach.

Earlier in the week, it was expected that Sampaoli would be officially unveiled as Edgardo Bauza’s successor on Thursday evening at AFA’s Ezeiza complex. It is now thought that the ceremony will still go ahead, although it appears AFA head Claudio ‘Chiqui’ Tapia and co last night came close to dismantling the work they had put in to secure the ex-Sevilla coach over recent months.

Having effectively cut ties with Andalucian side Sevilla last week, finishing fourth in his first and only season, Sampaoli arrived in Argentina last weekend and was seen attending a variety of games across the Primera Division fixture list, prompting many to assume AFA had done their business in advance and that the deal was wrapped up.

AFA being AFA, however, meant that negotiations weren’t that straightforward. Sampaoli was reportedly expecting an offer that matched his wages at Sevilla, understood to be around US $2.500.000 per year, while AFA delivered an offer half of that.

Nevertheless, it appears Sampaoli and AFA reached a deal reportedly numbering US $ 1.700.000 per year, with the 57 year-old to be presented later this evening before he and his new squad fly to Melbourne on Friday for their friendly against Brazil next week.

Read more: How will Sampaoli’s Argentina side face up against Brazil?

That squad was revealed two weeks ago, and saw, alongside the usual names of Lionel Messi and Gonzalo Higuain, the inclusion of Mauro Icardi and Manuel Lanzini, while Sergio Aguero and Ezequial Lavezzi missed out. Javier Mascherano has withdrawn from the squad due to a knee injury.

Four days after the game against Brazil, Sampaoli’s new side will face Singapore before facing the real test of the World Cup qualifier against Uruguay in August.


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