Silly season has arrived early in Atlanta. This time, it has nothing to do with high-priced transfer rumors or unhappy players.
On Thursday morning, Tata Martino denied any and all contact with outside clubs and federations, just as he did in his original interview given to Caracol Radio. He also denied the contact reported with Mexican officials this week. However, Martino confirmed that he has a date of October 1 to finalize his decision with the club.
“That’s a date, contractually, that we have to try to decide the situation, but as I said before, we are still having talks with the club,” Martino told reporters through a translator Thursday.
What does Martino want in his new deal? Why the negotiations?
“Just everything that goes into a new contract both sporting and also economically,” Martino said, while explaining that he’s perfectly happy to not be as involved in transfer dealings as some managers.
Tuesday night, as the match between the United States Men’s National Team and Mexico was winding down, Colombian radio station Caracol Radio aired an interview with Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino in which he expressed his affinity for the head coaching positions at Colombia and his native Argentina — a post he’s held once before.
That interview seems to have served as an opening of the floodgates. Within 24-hours, TyC Sports reported that Mexican soccer officials stayed in America after Tuesday’s match to make the short trip from Nashville to Atlanta and meet with the Martino. Atlanta United president Darren Eales and Technical Director Carlos Bocanegra were in attendance for the USMNT game Tuesday as well.
The rumors didn’t end there. Late Wednesday night, reports emerged from PubliMetro that ex-Colombian manager Jose Pekerman had been tabbed by Mexico as its next manager. (Pekerman stepped down as Colombia’s manager after the 2018 FIFA World Cup.) However, those plans are apparently now on hold with Martino possibly being available in a matter of months after the expiration of his current contract, according to the report. The report states that if Martino does indeed leave Atlanta and Pekerman doesn’t get the Mexican job, he has a position lined up in Atlanta to succeed Martino.
Chances that the reports of an incoming Jose Pekerman are all accurate? Who knows? Many of these rumors — which is exactly what they are at this point — seem to extrapolate from the same unsourced radio interview.