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Reports: Oscar Garcia set to leave Red Bull Salzburg for St. Etienne

Remember that time Jesse Marsch was rumored to be taking a job at Salzburg that wasn't available? Well, it looks like it's available now.

Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images

Per Salzburger Nachrichten, Red Bull Salzburg is in the market for a new head coach: Oscar Garcia is expected to be announced as St. Etienne's new manager as soon as details regarding his support staff are settled. But! Football Club had been increasingly confident of Garcia's move to France, reporting Salzburg had accepted a fee for Garcia's departure before the more cautious (or less well-informed) Austrian press was willing to acknowledge the long-running rumor had substance to it. Now it would appear reporters covering soccer in both Austria and France are in agreement: Oscar Garcia is heading to St. Etienne.

As noted by SN, Garcia's departure puts Salzburg under pressure: the first team is expected to report for pre-season on June 19. Per SN, the favorite to replace Garcia is Thomas Letsch, currently head coach of Salzburg's reserve team - FC Liefering - and the interim RBS head coach prior to Garcia's appointment in December 2015. Marco Rose coached the Salzburg U-19s to this season's UEFA Youth League title and is also considered a candidate to run the first team.

The speed with which Salzburg will have to act to be prepared for the coming season would seem to diminish the likelihood of an appointment from outside the club, but as recently as Monday (June 12) LAOLA1 was stoking the fires of speculation by conjuring a shortlist of candidates to replace Garcia: Letsch, Rose, former Admira Wacker coach Oliver Lederer, and New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch.

The latter two on the list are arguably makeweights for the purpose of enlivening the story. Lederer is currently free to take any offer that comes his way, and fits the mold of the young (he's 39), relatively unheralded but respected coach that RalfBall-era Red Bull seems to prefer.

Marsch, of course, was linked to RB Salzburg earlier this year. It seemed a mad rumor at the time, not least because Salzburg had a head coach and had just fought off advances from Malaga for Garcia's services. If there was anything to the Marsch-to-Salzburg rumor, it seemed the US media had got hold of it too late: Oscar Garcia was kicking off training and declaring his commitment to Salzburg around the same time it was being reported that MLS sources were convinced Marsch was on his way to Austria.

Also, Marsch wasn't qualified for the Salzburg job. But shortly after the rumor of his departure from RBNY dissipated, it was revealed that Marsch had started the process of getting the necessary certification to be a head coach of a top-flight European club.

He won't get his UEFA Pro Licence until the summer of 2018, so technically Jesse Marsch still isn't qualified to manage a club like RB Salzburg. But waivers for coaches in the process of getting appropriate certification are not unknown.

To be clear, the smart money looks to be on Thomas Letsch or Marco Rose being promoted from within the existing Salzburg set-up.

But Marsch is as ambitious a coach as you would expect. He also appears to love the Red Bull system and it is frequently suggested the Red Bull system loves him. Just last week, he was singing the praises of the RBNY and RB Global Soccer set-up to MSG's Kristian Dyer.

As you would expect of any coach, he also told Dyer he wouldn't balk at the opportunity to test himself in Europe - and it would have been weird, given his ongoing effort to secure UEFA coaching certification, if he'd said any different.

Put all of that together - comments in his interview with Dyer, the pursuit of UEFA's Pro Licence, and the fact Oscar Garcia is on his way to St. Etienne - and you still don't get to Jesse Marsch quitting RBNY this week to start preparing RB Salzburg for its new season. Certainly not merely because a mad idea was floated over the winter and events since have made it seem a little more plausible.

But the rumor that was crazy in January is less crazy in June - and also more possible than it appeared to be six months ago.