OPINION: New Zealand Football should open its chequebook and do everything in its power to land Graham Arnold as its next All Whites coach.
The former Central Coast Mariners mastermind is back on the market after parting ways with Vegalta Sendai this week, following an unhappy five-month stint with the Japanese club.
Arnold, who has played for and coached Australia, told SBS he was not happy with the fact that 17 players in his squad were over 30 and that he felt his hands were tied when it came to bringing in new players.
But Japan's loss could be New Zealand's gain - if they act fast.
The 50-year-old enjoyed great success in his four years at the helm of the unfashionable Mariners - winning the A-League premiership in 2011-12 and the championship in 2012-13.
He was named A-League manager of the year in 2011-12.
It might be a long shot but if you don't ask you don't get and NZF should go after ‘Arnie' immediately.
He knows the New Zealand landscape reasonably well, having tussled with the All Whites in his playing days before becoming a regular visitor to Wellington to play the Phoenix.
Arnold's players speak glowingly about his man-management abilities, he is good with the media and fans, while he has a connection to the All Whites through Michael McGlinchey and Storm Roux.
There will be plenty of A-League interest in Arnold, with the futures of Kenny Lowe (Perth Glory), Frank Farina (Sydney FC) and Clayton Zane (Newcastle Jets) uncertain.
Those clubs won't sit on their hands like NZF have since Ricki Herbert fell on his sword in November.
New boss Andy Martin is waiting on an independent review into last year's failed World Cup campaign before embarking on a man-hunt.
That's fair enough but Martin should make an exception with someone as talented and well suited as Arnold looking for work.
It would cost - but NZF does have money in its coffers after earning millions for the TV rights for the game against Mexico in Wellington.
If interested, Arnold could bring in the support staff of his choosing. But if he wanted local nous, current interim coach Neil Emblen would be a more than capable assistant, while Auckland City mentor Ramon Tribulietx is well regarded for his technical knowledge and video analysis.
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