Photo credit: AFP.

Copa America winners Chile are looking for a new coach after the national federation called a halt Thursday to its negotiations with Jorge Sampaoli, a Chilean official announced. The federation’s Gaspar Goycoolea said after four meetings the federation had taken the view that “it was impossible to reach an agreement” with the Argentine manager.

“Unfortunately there’s no possibility of making progress, taking into account Jorge Sampaoli’s publicly stated wish to leave the ship,” he told a press conference in Santiago.

Sampaoli had been giving mixed signals about his future as coach of La Roja this week. On Monday he hit out at reports in the local media linking him to tax evasion and holding an offshore bank account.

“In this atmosphere, I don’t want to work or live any more in this country,” Sampaoli had told Chilean website Faro Deportivo.

He claimed he was being held “hostage” by his contract which had a $6 million buy out clause. Sampaoli, under contract until 2018, said it was impossible for him to pay that sum.

Then on Wednesday he appeared to backtrack, telling a press conference: “It’s not true that I don’t want to live or work in Chile. On the contrary I want to dispel this misunderstanding,” he insisted.

“I’ve been living here for seven years and I’ve had some unforgettable times.”

Discussing the buy out clause Goycoolea said: “We were willing to significantly reduce the figure and give him the chance of delayed payments, but that was rejected by the coach.”

If Sampaoli does confirm his exit his compatriot Marcelo Bielsa, jobless since walking out on Marseille at the start of the Ligue 1 season in France, could return to the post he held between 2007-2010.

Another contender according to local media is Eduardo Berizzo, the manager of Celta Vigo in Spain’s La Liga.

Aside from qualification for the 2018 World Cup Chile are also preparing to defend their Copa title at the Copa Centenario in the United States later this year.