Sevilla have threatened legal action over Argentina's pursuit of their manager, Jorge Sampaoli, to replace ousted coach Edgardo Bauza.
The newly-elected president of Argentina's Football Association, Claudio Tapia, told reporters in Buenos Aires that he was heading to Spain to talk with first-choice candidate Sampaoli, as well as Diego Simeone and skipper Lionel Messi.
But, faced with the prospect of losing the coach that had lifted Sevilla into the title race for much of his first season in La Liga, the Andalucian club have released a strongly-worded statement after sending a warning letter to the AFA:
"With regard to the information appearing in various media outlets, both local and international, in relation to the interest of the Argentine Football Association (AFA) in hiring Jorge Sampaoli as their national team coach - with an existing contract until 2018 - and with regards to the declarations of the same vein made by said association's president, Claudio Tapia, on his intention of holding a meeting in Spain with the Sevilla coach in the upcoming days," said the statement.
"Sevilla FC has today sent a letter to the AFA in which it states that, in the case of these comments being true, Sevilla FC would consider it a lack of respect, and at the same time unacceptable, any meeting or contact with the coach leading to a breaking of contract with the club, and thus will not think twice about considering their legal options."
Sampaoli is known to be keen on leaving the reigning Europa League champions, despite the success he has enjoyed at the Ramón Sanchez Pizjuan. His greatest ally, sporting director Monchi, has announced he will walk away from the club this summer and Sampaoli's relationship with Sevilla's president has deteriorated notably.
The Argentine, 53, is expected to take over the national team of his homeland if a deal can be agreed but also told The Sun in an interview last week - published on Wednesday morning - that he would consider a Premier League vacancy.
“I hope I get the chance to bring my experience and my ideas to England where some of the best coaches have already brought their own philosophy," he said.
"I want to compete with them.”