Arnold says sayonara to J-League

A-LEAGUE FOOTBALL

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 joined J-League side Vegalta Sendai five months ago. But after a winless start to his tenure [with four losses and two draws], he decided to make his exit, citing concerns about the attitude and age of his squad.

Arnold turned heads at the Japanese club after he guided the Mariners to their maiden A-League championship last season and 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 had sought a meeting with the club's president.

He said he was unhappy that 17 players in his squad were over the age of 30 and he felt his hands were tied when it came to bringing in new players.

"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," he said.

"I left the meeting for them to discuss the direction of the club. They said they needed to consider the sponsors and supporters and I understand that."

Arnold, who was the first Australian-born coach to 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 as interim coach Clayton Zane is not yet assured of the full-time gig for next season.

Arnold brought a contingent of A-League personnel to Vegalta, such as Mariners strength and conditioning coach Andrew Clark and midfielder Mike McGlinchey, and Perth Glory goalkeeper Danny Vukovic on loan.

AAP

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