Australia coach Graham Arnold has resisted the temptation to take the reins of K-League outfit FC Seoul, and will remain at the Socceroos helm.
Sources in South Korea confirmed that Arnold, 57, declined the offer to take charge of the six-time K1 League champions, leaving them to continue their quest for a head coach ahead of next month’s AFC Champions League resumption.
Arnold’s decision to turn his back on a mouth-watering return to club football comes despite his hopes of leading the Socceroos into their first fixtures in a year being dashed.
A rising tide of coronavirus cases across the UK, and the resulting tightening of quarantine restrictions and player release protocols, looks to have scuppered planned November friendlies against England and the USA in the English capital.
Football Federation Australia chief James Johnson looked to have pulled a rabbit out of his hat in teeing up the clashes.
But circumstances have left Arnold - desperate to get back on the training pitch - with nothing on the horizon until next March’s scheduled resumption of the Socceroos’ 2022 FIFA World Cup qualification campaign, most likely in an Asian hub.
It’s the frustration of ongoing inaction which has led to Arnold to pondering his future in recent months, with his other gig - as head coach of the Tokyo Games bound Olyroos - also on hold.
However, his move to bat away such a high profile offer will be comforting to Johnson, who has just gone through the exhaustive process of appointing a new Matildas coach and would have little appetite to replace a mentor he is known to rate highly.
“FFA are aware but not surprised that Graham Arnold has reportedly attracted interest from a club overseas,” said Johnson.
“We would expect that the men’s national team coach of Australia would attract this type of interest from other parts of the world, which further validates why Graham is the coach of the Socceroos.
“Conversely, we would be concerned if the national team coach of Australia wasn’t attracting this type of interest, particularly from the Asia-Pacific region.
“The prestige of coaching a national team is a rare opportunity and we would expect that Graham Arnold sees through his commitment as national team coach of Australia as we continue our path towards the FIFA World Cup in Qatar in 2022. “FFA will not be making any further comments on this matter.”