RIYADH/MARSEILLE: Marseille’s Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa has reported been offered the job of managing the national team of Saudi Arabia – with the aim of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup finals in neighbouring Qatar writes KEIR RADNEDGE.
Bielsa, according to the French and Spanish media, has been offered $10m-a-year which would make him the world’s best-paid national manager.
The current Marseille boss, who has enjoyed an erratic relationship with the club management, already accepted the offer and will be the next coach of Arabia, is attracted by the challenge of building the first “competitive Arab team at World Cup.”
Competing at the 2022 finals, the first in the Middle East, will be an issue of high reputational significance for the Saudis.
Italian Fabio Capello is believed to have a contract worth £11.5m-a-year with Russia, the 2018 host nation, but its value is diluted by the inability of the Russian Football Union to keep up with payments.
Bielsa – former Rosario Central and Bilbao coach – took Argentina to the World Cup finals in 2002 and Chile in 2010.
Saudi Prince Al-Walid Bin Talal Bin Abdelaziz Al Saud, 35th in the Forbes list of the world’s richest men, once made an unsuccessful a bid to buy Marseille.
Bielsa, asked about the possibility of moving to Saudi Arabia, said: “I do not rule it out or rule it in.”
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