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Montemurro sizes up European offers as next chapter beckons

Joe Montemurro looks on prior to an Arsenal Women match Source: Getty Images

Departing Arsenal Women's Super League coach Joe Montemurro has already been sounded out by several suitors, as he contemplates his next European career move.

For now, there will be no triumphant homecoming for the Melbourne-born master motivator, who traversed both the A-League and W-League with Melbourne City before making his mark at Arsenal, winning two cups and a WSL title on a joyride which has brought him global recognition.

After this season concludes, Montemurro, 51, will head instead to his ancestral home of Italy for a first true family break in almost a decade.

Suitably recharged by the Mediterranean sun, he aims to resurface in either a club or national team role by September.

“I’m going to really enjoy the next month or so at Arsenal - and then I’ll take a break, recap and refresh some of the ideas floating in my head and just reboot things,” Montemurro said.

“I’ll be staying in Europe - there are no opportunities in Australia to come back to - whilst opportunities are opening up in Europe, and I’ll be sticking around to find out which is the right one.

“There are a few bits and pieces that have been thrown at me. Nothing solid yet, more speculative.

“In all honesty, I’ve fended them off a little bit and we’ll look at things in the next month or so.”

Montemurro’s decision to leave third-placed Arsenal, a club he totally reinvigorated, caught everybody by surprise.

He has already been linked with the Netherlands job, with incumbent Sarina Wiegman taking charge of England in September.

But clubland might hold greater sway, though Montemurro is open to both.

“With the Euros and a (women’s) World Cup coming up there might be something I’d be really interested in looking at,” said the man who was trumped by Tony Gustavsson for the Matildas job.

“It has to be the right project and something I believe I can affect and leave a legacy.

“Hopefully one day the football gods will reward me with the right national team.

“It’s always nice to be linked with great nations (there was an offer from the USWNT previously), but there are some amazing coaches out there who would also be considered.”

Touching on a future club assignment, Montemurro was equally animated.

“It’s absolutely a possibility,” he said. “If I can make change somewhere then I’d be keen. If the right one comes up I’ll consider it.

“The attraction of Champions League football has always been high on my radar. I want to be competing in the best competition in the world.”

Montemurro’s impending Arsenal exit - with two years left on his contract and just four months after having been offered an extension - is much lamented by staff and players.

“It’s always really difficult sometimes when you make decisions from your heart and from a gut feeling,” he said.

“Arsenal have been absolutely brilliant and it’s sometimes really hard to explain why you’re saying ‘no and thank you’ to one of the greatest brands in the world, and a club I supported as a kid.

“But I just felt it was the right decision for the team going forward and the right decision for myself.

“I can’t really explain the real reasons why but they are all leading towards fatigue and tiredness, and recalibrating as a coach.

“I’m heading to Italy (with wife Linda) - I have a lot of family there and I want to enjoy myself for a few months and lap up the sun and beaches.

“The cycle of modern coaches is that I don’t think you’re going to see the tenures of 15 years or 10 years anymore.

“You go in, do your best but with all the other pressures then you probably get out. That’s the way I see things at the moment.”