Sevilla president Pepe Castro has revealed the club have already opened discussions with Jorge Sampaoli over a contract renewal, following speculations linking the Argentine with the Barcelona job. The club chief said that the manager is currently focused on the key Champions League trip to Leicester City, but hopes he will put pen to paper on anew contract "as soon as possible".
Sampaoli is understood to be on the shortlist to replace Luis Enrique in the summer after the current Barcelona boss recently revealed that he will be quitting at the end of the campaign.
Some sources in Spain suggest that Ernesto Valverde is the club's first choice, but recent polls conducted by Catalan publications Mundo Deportivo and Sport revealed that majority of the fans want the Argentine to be the next Barcelona manager – ahead of Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp and the Athletic Club Bilbao boss.
However, Sevilla hope Sampaoli will snub the overtures from Barcelona to sign a new deal at the Europa League winners instead.
"We have already told him that we want him to continue and renew his contract for one more season," Castro confirmed to Cadena Cope. "Now we are focused on the two upcoming games [against Leicester City and Atletico Madrid] and it is not the right time to speak, but we have already transmitted to him our intentions and after these two games we will continue talking.
"We have already told him that we want him to stay. He is very happy here because he says that we are the ones that gave him the opportunity to manage and succeed in La Liga. We are in conversations and maybe [we can complete the deal for] him to stay sooner rather than later. We do not want to set a date, we must be calm, but we hope to do it as soon as possible."
Sampaoli himself recently tried to play down the speculation linking him with Barcelona after insisting that his only focus is on helping Sevilla in the run-in, as the Andalusian side are still in the fight for La Liga and the Champions League.
"The truth is that I have no idea what you are talking about," the Sevilla boss recently said when asked about the Barcelona ties. "Being a candidate or talking about potential candidates at this moment of the tournament, when we are fighting where we are... I'm only focused on that. I cannot give you an answer about speculation or reports from the media. This question doesn't have an answer because it doesn't exist."