Brazilian club Santos confirmed Tuesday evening that manager Jorge Sampaoli has resigned as boss.
Sampaoli, who won the 2015 Copa America in charge of Chile but could not recreate that success with the Argentinian national team, signed on with Santos a year ago and guided them to a second-place finish in the Brazilian top flight, 16 points behind runaway champions Flamengo. His contract had another year, expiring in the winter of 2020, but with reports of offers from multiple clubs, he has stepped down.
O Santos FC comunica que, na data de 09/12/2019, em reunião realizada pela manhã no CT Rei Pelé, o treinador Jorge Sampaoli pediu demissão do cargo.
Uma vez comunicada a demissão pelo treinador, o caso foi entregue aos departamentos jurídico e de recursos humanos do Clube. pic.twitter.com/PpX0bW0dAI
— Santos Futebol Clube (@SantosFC) December 11, 2019
The most widely reported destination is fellow Brazilian club Palmeiras, whom many believe Sampaoli has already entered talks with. He has also been linked with Argentinian club Racing, and his name has cropped up on occasion with the Arsenal vacancy, although that seems like a longshot. It was said in late October that Sampaoli had an offer from an unnamed La Liga club, but those rumors have cooled.
His reason for leaving Santos after just one successful season in charge is unconfirmed, but rumors are circulating that Sampaoli had incredibly ambitious transfer plans for the offseason, and when club president Jose Carlos Peres could not guarantee his support, the relationship became strained.
The 2019 season was mostly successful for Sampaoli at Santos, finishing second in the league table, but the secondary competitions were somewhat disappointing. They received a tough first-round draw in the Copa Sudamericana, falling to River Plate on away goals. They were also ousted from the Copa do Brasil in the Round of 16, falling 2-1 to an Atletico Minero side that finished 13th in the league table.