Sydney close in on Arnold as Jets end chase

Sydney FC have emerged as the frontrunners for Graham Arnold's signature after the Newcastle Jets officially ended talks with the former Central Coast Mariners mentor.

The Hunter outfit were said to be close to sealing a deal with Arnold last week but released a statement today saying no agreement could be reached.

The club said it had “withdrawn from discussions with Graham Arnold regarding the club's vacant head coach position.

“Over the last two months the club has been conducting an extensive selection process for the head coach position which involved a number of domestic and international candidates including Graham Arnold, but after several discussions an agreement could not be reached.

“The club will continue the head coach selection process and look forward to making an announcement shortly."

Sydney are said to be well advanced in talks with the title-winning coach.

The Jets have undergone a huge shakeup after failing to make the finals playoffs for the fourth year in a row.

A recent clear out of backroom staff saw assistant coach Craig Deans, goalkeeper coach Bob Catlin and strength and conditioning coach Karl Dodd shown the door.

Interim coach Clayton Zane, who took over mid-season after the club parted with coach Gary Van Egmond, has remained with the Hunter outfit.

Arnold rejected a lucrative offer to join the Sky Blues at the end of the 2011–12 A-League season, preferring to re-sign with the Mariners.

In November last year he signed with J-League outfit Vegalta Sendai but parted ways with the club five months later after a disappointing winless run.

But it looks like Sydney could finally get their man. The harbour-siders recently sacked coach Frank Farina after the club was bundled out in the first round of the finals following a 2-1 loss to Melbourne Victory.