Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa is without a doubt one of the hottest commodities in soccer right now. Many teams and national sides will be making an offer soon to obtain his services for the upcoming World Cup, or even as a coach to start a long-term project for the next year at club level or for the 2018 World Cup.
There was a great deal of talk over the past month of Bielsa being looked at by the Peruvian Football Federation (FPF) and there were conflicting reports from that country’s sport media both confirming and denying the interest of the Rosario native for the position.
On Wednesday, a report emerged in Peruvian sports daily El Bócón where they stated that the FPF has a plan in place to negotiate with the former Athletic Bilbao boss in order to acquire him as soon as possible in an effort to replace Sergio Markarián.
As a matter of fact, there are reports that there are negotiations ongoing with “El Loco” and that they’ve been positive thus far. In another positive step, there were reports that a representative had been sent to Spain for negotiatiations while former Real Madrid sporting director Jorge Valdano was the intermediary setting up the meeting.
What they have not realized yet is that Bielsa’s negotiations are as long as his answers in press conferences. If you don’t believe what I’m saying, ask the Colombian Football Federation when they negotiated with him. His extensive dossiers on players, teams, projects and infrastructure saw him finally decide on turning down the offer, so Peru better have a satisfying long-term answer if they truly want him to accept. While infrastructure is a major issue, his salary will also be an even bigger roadblock.
When this story originally broke in September, the consensus was that Bielsa would sign right away. The best quote on that topic came from Peruvian daily Libero when they said, “He’s a man that has established a style of play based on discipline and orderly football and it tends to make teams competitive.”
Bielsa’s success at the national team level is well documented, especially how he was able to turn things around with Chile. This part is especially poignant because of the cases with indiscipline that plagues Los Incaicos in every World Cup cycle. This has been one of the major reasons for the Peruvian national team have not participated in the World Cup since 1982.
Peru will also have to fend off potential competition from Chile. There are also reports that Chilean giants Colo Colo are looking for Bielsa’s services as the club has fallen on hard times, and would look to have their entire program restructured as they find themselves in 11th place in the current torneo Apertura. This move also seems ironic as it was the Colo Colo brass who were one of the main ones that forced Bielsa to be sacked as Chilean national team coach after Harold Mayne-Nicholls lost his re-election bid to current ANFP president Sergio Jadue.
Let’s see how far this story goes.
Follow Juan on Twitter @JuanG_Arango.