Arnold set to leave Mariners for Asian topflight

CHAMPIONSHIP-winning coach Graham Arnold is on the verge of leaving Central Coast Mariners for a post with a topflight club in Asia.

Assistant coach Phil Moss is primed to take over the helm at Bluetongue and will take charge of the first team's training session while Arnold is abroad.

The 50-year-old is one of Australia's most successful club coaches and, along with Tony Popovic (Wanderers) and Ange Postecoglou (Victory) was in the frame to take over the Socceroos following the sacking of Holger Osieck.

Football Federation Australia eventually opted for Postecoglou.

It is likely that Arnold has coached his last game at Bluetongue. The Mariners have released a statement saying he will travel to Asia this week in a bid to join a successful topflight side.

The former Socceroo striker has been linked with clubs in England and Asia  and Sydney FC. Most recently Sheffield United tha resulted in a public spat with the League One side over their playing style.


The statement from the club read: "Arnold’s ambition to coach abroad at the highest level possible is well documented, and with strong interest from a club in one of Asia’s biggest leagues, the Mariners acknowledge that there is a strong probability Arnold has coached his final fixture for the 2013 Hyundai A-League Champions."

The club's Group General Manager, Mr Peter Turnbull, said that the Gosford outfit had been working on a succession plan for Arnold’s eventual departure for some time.

“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."

The club said it wil make no further comments regarding Arnold's potential departure until a deal is finalised or he returns.