How much longer before Diego Simeone gets an offer he can't refuse?

By all accounts, Saturday's Barcelona-Atletico Madrid game at the Camp Nou could represent a last hurrah for Atletico coach Diego Simeone. They head into the game tied for the lead in La Liga, four points ahead of Real Madrid, but Barca has a far superior goal difference and a game in hand. A win would put Barca in a position to pull away from Atletico.

Already there is talk of Simeone leaving at the end of the season even though he only in the first year of a new five-year contract. (It has a $17 million buy-out clause.) The immediate question is, why hasn't he been lured away before?

In face of the competition from Barcelona and Real Madrid, both with resources three times what Atletico has, Simeone's coaching record in his first four seasons has been remarkable:

-- Europa League champion in 2012;
-- UEFA Super Cup champion in 2012 and Copa del Rey champion in 2013;
-- La Liga champion and UEFA Champions League runner-up in 2014; and
-- Spanish Supercopa champion in 2014.

What makes Simeone so successful? He is a non-nonsense coach in the tradition of coaches like Jose Mourinho, Guus Hiddink and Louis van Gaal. As noted in a profile of the Argentine, he is consumed by the game and the qualities he admire, which he says he saw best in his 2006 Estudiantes de la Plata team back in Argentina, include "practicality, commitment, collective effort, talent, simplicity."

That could be Mourinho or Hiddink speaking and makes Simeone an obvious choice for Chelsea to hire him as a long-term successor to Hiddink, the interim coach at Chelsea in place of Mourinho.

Atletico president Enrique Cerezo insists Simeone is untouchable.

"We have a coach who has a winning culture," he said on the eve of Atletico's trip to Barcelona. "Simeone has offered us come incredible years. The mood of everyone is that Diego continues with us. He has a long-term contract and for us he is very important."

A buy-out clause of $17 million is nothing to sniff at -- after all, Chelsea couldn't pry Didier Drogba away the Montreal Impact with the offer of a coaching position at Stamford Bridge -- but it would seem impossible that one of the giant EPL giant clubs with all their new television money won't make Simeone and Atletico an offer they can't refuse.

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