OFFICIAL: Bielsa agrees to coach Lille in 2017-18

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The 61-year-old coach, who won Olympic gold with Argentina, is heading back to France for the beginning of the 2017-18 campaign

Marcelo Bielsa has agreed to take charge of Ligue 1 outfit Lille as of July 1, the French club have announced.

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Lille have been without a permanent coach since Frederic Antonetti was sacked earlier in the season, with the club struggling towards the foot of the standings. Last week, Franck Passi, who has been tipped to be the Argentine's assistant at Stade Pierre-Mauroy took over caretaker charge and led his new side to a 1-0 win over Caen on Saturday.

Meanwhile, 61-year-old Biesla has been out of work since his brief stay at Lazio last summer, which lasted a matter of hours. The coach does have experience of Ligue 1, however, having spent a year with Marseille, while he led Argentina to Olympic gold in 2004 and Athletic Bilbao to the final of the Europa League in 2012.

"Marcelo Bielsa is without a doubt one of the most respected and influential coaches in the work and to bring him to LOSC is an immense satisfaction and proof of the ambitions of the club," director general Marc Ingla commented.

"It's no secret, [owner] Gerard Lopez and Marcelo Bielsa are close and have already talked about this opportunity.

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"We have always thought Marcelo would be the best person, with his philosophy of football, his experience, his rigour and his professionalism, to build our project and lead Lille to future victories. 

"Even if we are absolutely concentrated on the next games and the highly important fixtures to come before the end of the season with Franck Passi, it's good news that we have announced today for the Lille of tomorrow."

Lopez bought a controlling stake in Lille at the end of January and was quick to make several signings, including Anwar El-Ghazi from Ajax, with the winger grabbing the winger at the weekend.

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