Graham Arnold could be set for a return to the A-League after the former Central Coast coach parted ways with his Japanese club.
Arnold only joined J-League side Vegalta Sendai five months ago but after a winless start to his tenure, featuring four losses and two draws, he has decided to make his exit citing concerns about the attitude and age of his squad.
Arnold turned heads at the Japanese club after guiding the Mariners to their maiden A-League championship last season and through to the knock-out stages of the Asian Champions League.
But after Vegalta’s 4-0 loss to Urawa Red Diamonds on Sunday Arnold said he requested a meeting with the club’s president.
Arnold said he was not happy with the fact that 17 players in his squad were over the age of 30 and that he felt his hands were tied when it came to bringing in new players.
“I told the president directly that I wasn’t happy with the age of the squad, with the fact that we hadn’t been able to make a lot of change and that many of the older players were resistant to change,” Arnold told SBS.
“I told the president I felt as if I was coaching someone else’s team and in the end I have my standards to uphold.
“I left the meeting for them to discuss the direction of the club and they said they needed to consider the sponsors and supporters and I understand that.”
Arnold, who was the first Australian-born coach to ever coach in the J-League, said he had no regrets.
“In the end it was genuinely a decision that we arrived at together,” he said.
“Things weren’t working with the changes we’d liked to have made and we agreed to part ways.
“Despite the way things ended I walk away with my head held high and I feel I’ve become a better coach and a better person.
“I’ve got no regrets and I enjoyed every minute of the experience.”
With the futures of Perth Glory coach Kenny Lowe and Sydney FC coach Frank Farina uncertain Arnold, with his proven track record in the A-League, could be a perfect replacement.
The Newcastle Jets may also be interested with interim coach Clayton Zane not yet assured of the full-time gig for next season.
Arnold brought with him a contingent of A-League personnel to Vegalta such as the Mariners strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark as well as midfielder Mike McGlinchey and Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic on loan.