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Barcelona-target Marcelo Gallardo staying with River Plate, Everton’s search continues

Marcelo Gallardo released a statement today saying he’s going nowhere

River Plate v Boca Juniors - Copa CONMEBOL Libertadores 2018
Marcelo Gallardo celebrates with the Copa Libertadores trophy
Photo by Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/Getty Images

Aside from the usual suspects that appear to be on the shortlist for both Everton and Arsenal, there have been some other names that keep popping up. Serial winner Marcelo Gallardo is one such manager.

As a player the River Plate boss won six league titles as well as the Copa Libertadores, and since then as a manager has lifted the Libertadores twice as well as a handful of other Cup triumphs. It was almost a third win in the final of the South American Champions League-equivalent just a week ago but his side was dramatically beaten late by Flamengo, led by another manager Everton are rumoured to be chasing, Jorge Jesus.

River currently sit fifth in the Argentine Superliga, three points behind the leaders the top and play in the Copa Argentina final on Saturday against Central Córdoba. However, their season has been marred by rumours of interest from European giants Barcelona, where Ernesto Valverdo has been on the hot seat from the second he stepped into the Nou Camp.

Everton meanwhile sacked Marco Silva last Thursday and since then at least a dozen managers have been linked, glorified, evaluated, eviscerated and then unlinked in short order.

Speaking to the media today though, Gallardo reaffirmed that he was not leaving River Plate despite all the media buzz surrounding him.

“At the end of the year I usually stop to see where I’m going, what stimulates me, my state, what gets me going and what works with my professional and personal priorities.

“Something began to be generated regarding the decision I was going to make. I don’t want that to continue. On 2 January, I will be here and I will start the pre-season, which may be in Uruguay, Buenos Aires on the south of the country. I am not interested in generating any kind of uncertainty. My wish is to continue with this team.

“I never had doubts about staying. Being here is hard with the requirements you put on yourself and what it means to be in charge of this club. That’s why you have to stop and reflect. Beyond my contract, which expires in December 2021, there is no clause. The leadership and I have a very cordial relationship.”

While no means final since money has been known to change even the minds of the most decisive people in the past, this does appear to pour cold water on the hopes that Gallardo would be the legacy-building manager that Everton could be seeking.

The 43-year-old has been previously endorsed by Manchester City boss Pep Guardiola. A fan of the 4-3-1-2 formation, he always looks to create a numerical superiority in midfield to utilize the half-spaces.

Meanwhile earlier today Everton announced that interim manager Duncan Ferguson would remain in charge of the side for the short trip to Old Trafford on Sunday to take on Manchester United.