Arnold heads to Vegalta Sendai

GRAHAM Arnold will quit reigning champs Central Coast Mariners to sign a lucrative deal with J.League club Vegalta Sendai.

According to reports in Australia and Japan, the Aussie tactician will be unveiled as the new coach to replace the departing Makoto Teguramori.

The J.League outfit, which has aspirations for silverware in 2014, currently sits ninth on the ladder with three rounds remaining.

Arnold’s anticipated appointment comes at the tail end of a disappointing season for Vegalta who finished second to Sanfrecce Hiroshima in 2012, the club Arnold played for in 1997/1998.

The deal means the former Socceroo will swap the sauce bottles of Bluetongue Stadium for Yurtec Stadium with a capacity of 19,600.

Vegalta fans are among the most passionate in the J.League and during the devastation of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami, the club became a community focal point.

Supporters are also known for their eclectic musical tastes which covers Kiss and Twisted Sister although their official theme song is Take Me Home Country Roads.

Arnold has declined to talk with the media at this stage but it is understood the Mariners were well prepared for his departure.

The club's Group General Manager, Mr Peter Turnbull, said that the Gosford outfit had been working on a succession plan for some time and assistant coach Phil Moss has stepped up to the plate.

“The success of our Club over the past three seasons under Graham Arnold and his staff always meant Graham would receive interest from rival Hyundai A-League and foreign Clubs,” Turnbull said.

“As such, we have been planning for the past 18 months for Phil to take on the role of Head Coach of the club upon Graham’s departure. Of course, Graham has been helping prepare Phil for the position."

“We will know for certain by no later than Sunday whether or not Graham has finalised a deal in Asia, and will notify our members, fans, and media of any updates as soon as possible."

Despite limited resources, Arnold coached the Mariners to a Premiership (2011/12) and Championship (2012/13) and through two Asian Champions League campaigns, helping cement the club's reputation as one of the most consistently successful outfits in the A-League.

More to follow...