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Is Tata Martino going to Mexico? Atlanta United coach won’t say

Mar 3, 2018; Houston, TX, USA; Atlanta United head coach Gerardo Martino reacts from the sideline during the second half against the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

MARIETTA, Ga. — If the bevy of reports are true, then the clock is ticking on how much time Gerardo “Tata” Martino has left as the head coach of Atlanta United F.C.

ESPN was the latest to report the Argentine manager is headed to Mexico soon to become the new boss of El Tri. ESPN, citing unnamed sources, says that Martino has verbally agreed to a deal with Mexico, but hasn’t signed a contract.

When asked about the Mexico rumors and reports at Atlanta United’s training grounds in Marietta on Friday, Martino didn’t offer any hints on which direction his coaching career was heading.

“Nothing to say,” Martino said through a translator. “I don’t have to clarify things I haven’t said. This is always the same thing. Whenever there is some news to give, we’ll be sure to tell you. Until then, nothing has changed.”

Since the summer, Martino, 55, has been linked to rumors and reports putting him in the job pool for vacancies with the national teams in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico and the United States.

Martino said in September no football association had contacted him about an opening. He also denied meeting with Mexican national team officials after the Mexico versus U.S. friendly in Nashville in September.

A 55-year-old native of Argentina, Martino has been coaching since 1998, but the only job he has ever held for longer than two seasons was when he was the coach of the Paraguayan national team from 2007 to 2011, a run that included a 2010 World Cup appearance. Martino has also been the head coach of the Argentina national team, F.C. Barcelona, Newell’s Old Boys and Libertad.

Martino has been the head coach of Atlanta United since September 2016. He’s had a hand in recruiting South American players to the club  — who have created goals in bunches — and he’s guided the Five Stripes to playoff appearances in their first two seasons. Martino initially signed a two-year deal with the club, and that deal has an option for an extension. Neither the club or Martino has said if the option has been exercised yet.

“I don’t have an agent,” Martino said. “I have a daughter who handles (my) contract issues. The same daughter that handled my contract with Atlanta.

“As I’ve said, when there is any kind of news to clarify I will let you guys know. I haven’t talked to (Atlanta United president Darren Eales) this week. I haven’t had a chance. We’re focusing on Chicago. The most important thing is these two remaining games and then whatever is left of the playoffs. That’s what we’re focused on.”

The rumor mill surrounding Martino doesn’t seem to bother the players, according to veteran goalkeeper Brad Guzan, who talked about his coach’s situation with Atlanta sports talk radio station, 92.9 The Game earlier this week.

“That’s what happens when you’re affiliated with good teams. Regarding players, regarding coaches, there’s always going to be talk about movement. It’s part of professional sports,” Guzan said. “You put the rumors aside and you get down to business. We’re focused on this weekend. We have two huge games. We’re ready and we’re excited.”

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