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Santos FC announce agreement in principle with Jorge Sampaoli

One of Atlanta United’s managerial options appears to be off the the board.

Soccer: World Cup-Argentina vs Iceland Witters Sport-USA TODAY Sports

Jorge Sampaoli appears to be headed to Brazil.

The former Argentina national team manager, reported as a candidate for the vacant Atlanta United job, has agreed in principle to become the new man in charge at Santos FC, the club announced on its Twitter feed on Thursday. The two parties will meet to finalize the contract over the weekend.

The move is Sampaoli’s first foray into club management since a one-season stint at La Liga side Sevilla from June 2016-May 2017. While at the helm of the club, he led it to UEFA Champions League qualification and a fourth-place finish on the domestic table, its highest finish since the 2009-2010 campaign. He then was named to lead the Argentine national team, but reports of strife between him and players, along with a disappointing finish in a World Cup it barely qualified for in the first place, saw him depart in July.

With Sampaoli heading to Santos, that potentially clears the way for Boca Juniors manager Guillermo Barros Schelotto to take over for Tata Martino. There’s the chance of a dark horse candidate or another name rising to the forefront, but the former MLS MVP, along with Sampaoli, has been the primary name connected to Atlanta United over the past few weeks.