The head of United States Soccer Federation Sunil Gulati on Friday brushed off reports linking US coach Jurgen Klinsmann to the vacancy at English Premier League side Southampton.
Klinsmann has emerged as the strong favorite to take over at St Mary’s following the departure of Ronald Koeman to Everton, with his odds tumbling from 40-1 earlier this week to 1-3 with one British bookmaker.
However Gulati denied any knowledge of a possible deal to lure the German World Cup winner away from the US job, to which he is under contract until 2018.
“Other than to say that someone on the Southampton board has already said it’s not under consideration, I’ve got nothing to add,” he said. “And I don’t normally comment on rumors.”Asked by AFP to confirm that no approach had been made by Southampton to US Soccer, Gulati replied: “That would be accurate.”
Although Klinsmann has a long-term contract with the US, he has come under growing pressure in the past year following a series of disappointing results which included a semi-final exit at the CONCACAF Golf Cup on home soil and defeat in a play-off match against Mexico for a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup.
Klinsmann faced fresh criticism on Tuesday after the US were thumped 4-0 by Argentina in the Copa America Centenario semi-finals in Houston, failing to register a single shot either on or off target.
Gulati stoked speculation about Klinsmann’s future
earlier in the competition by briefing reporters ahead of a US must-win game against Costa Rica, stating that no US Soccer employee had “iron-clad job security.”
Asked Friday whether he believed the US had made progress on their goal of moving closer to the world’s elite, Gulati replied: “Overall yes, but on Tuesday night (against Argentina), no.”
“It’s a hard question to answer after a result like that,” Gulati said.
“But we were playing against the best team in the world, we gave up an early goal, things were always going to be difficult and that made it nearly impossible.
“So we didn’t do well but if you look back over the year we’ve made progress.
“There’s not that many teams that match up with sides like Argentina, Germany or Spain when they’re playing well.”