Sevilla president Jose Castro says coach Jorge Sampaoli is already planning for next season despite speculation over his future.
Sampaoli is reported to be a leading candidate to take the Barcelona job if Luis Enrique does not extend his contract and has not ruled out the prospect of taking on the position at the Camp Nou.
However, Sampaoli, who succeeded Unai Emery in June, has a deal until 2018 and Castro told Cadena Cope: “Sampaoli is not at Sevilla just passing by, he talks to us about the future.
“Sampaoli is very happy here and is already planning for next season.”
The former Chile boss has enjoyed a strong start in his first experience coaching in Europe, with Sevilla third in La Liga and also in the round of 16 of the Champions League, with a tie against Leicester City next.
Castro said he also expects Sevilla sporting director Monchi to remain at the club next season.
Monchi, at Sevilla for the last 16 years, has been instrumental in the club’s sporting success and also pivotal in helping the club gain financial stability.
Linked with top European clubs in the summer, Monchi’s intention was to leave Sevilla at the end of last season for “personal reasons,” but the Spanish club ruled out his departure and stated that he was under contract until June 2020 and would remain in his current position.
“Monchi is the best sporting director there is and I’m not going to falter in my wish for him to continue at the club for many more seasons,” Castro said.
Castro, meanwhile, expressed his relief after his club was able to sign Steven N’Zonzi to a one-year contract extension on Tuesday.
The 28-year-old French midfielder, who has impressed this season while making 27 starts in all competitions, including 18 in La Liga, had been a reported target of Barca.
“Many European clubs have asked about him,” Castro said. “We have made a very important sacrifice to extend N’Zonzi’s contract.”
Sevilla are level on 42 points with second-placed Barcelona and four points adrift of leaders Real Madrid heading into Sunday’s home game against Villarreal.
Real have a game in hand.
Adriana Garcia is a Valencia-based football writer who covers La Liga for ESPN FC.