It appears the affair, for lately it has been somewhat short of love, between Julen Lopetegui and Sevilla is coming to an end.
The Basque manager is just a point away from securing a third straight season of Champions League football for Los Nervionenses and won the Europa League in his first campaign in what is undoubtedly a successful spell in charge.
Yet in the second half of the season, his Sevilla side have struggled dramatically winning just 4 of their last 17 matches. The manner of that poor form has led to Lopetegui and the team being booed at home for several matches too.
Late on Saturday night Jose Manuel Garcia reported that Lopetegui would not continue beyond the end of the season. He also revealed that it would not be announced until after Champions League qualification was secured and that the separation would be amicable.
Julen Lopetegui, pese a que tiene contrato hasta 2024 con el @SevillaFC , no sera el entrenador de los blancos la temporada próxima. Lo tiene decidido el vasco. Baraja una importante oferta. No se announced nada hasta conseguir la clasificación Champions. pic.twitter.com/BeOrQyOsoV
— José Manuel García (@butacondelgarci) May 14, 2022
The following day, talk of his successor was already taking off. Marca have reported that Sporting Director Monchi has already been in contact with his first choice, Diego Martinez.
After a year out of football, in which Martinez spent considerable time watching Premier League football and learning English, the ex-Granada coach is in high demand. Martinez guided Granada into La Liga, before qualifying them for the Europa League and reaching the semi-finals in an historic spell with Los Nazaries.
He is also well known to Monchi, who appointed him manager of the Sevilla Atletico side (B team) previously and was also part of Unai Emery’s coaching team that won the 2014 Europa League.
In the same report, Marca detailed how Valencia and Espanyol had also shown interest in Martinez, with the latter in advanced talks about a deal. The chance to take over Sevilla, where Martinez has such strong links but also the opportunity to manage in the Champions League, is likely to be the most attractive from his point of view.