x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Five candidates who could replace Diego Maradona as Al Wasl coach

Following the left-field appointment of Diego Maradona the last time, Paul Radley looks at a quintet of unlikely names who could step in to replace the Argentine legend.

Josep Guardiola: Could he give struggling Al Wasl a pep talk?
Josep Guardiola: Could he give struggling Al Wasl a pep talk?

The appointment of Diego Maradona as Al Wasl manager in the first place was so exuberantly, outlandishly left-field, the Dubai club are going to have to come to extreme lengths to shock the world again. They could do it, however...

1: Roy Hodgson A manager throwing in the national job he has worked all his career for in favour of a move to UAE? As if that would ever happen. Well, it did once before, when Don Revie jacked in the England job for some sun and a nice pay deal back in 1977. Unlikely, but stranger things have happened: Wasl did land Maradona.

2: Pele Dependent on how acrimonious the split with Maradona was, the club may fancy recruiting his nemesis just to spite him. Light on coaching credentials, but, hey, when has that ever mattered? Age may be a sticking point - the great Brazilian is 71 now. But Wasl do play in yellow, and so did Pele.

3: Harry Redknapp The Brian Clough to Hodgson’s Revie. The people’s champion who was overlooked for the England job in favour of the establishment man could be a feasible option for Wasl. Courted by Al Ahli when he was still in work with Tottenham Hotspur. Now available, he likes Dubai and craves club management

4: Pep Guardiola The darling of Barcelona and the man credited as the mastermind behind the most beautiful team in history has planned on having a year’s sabbatical. Yes, but there is only so much chilling out a man can do. After a day at the beach, why not run a few training sessions down at Zabeel Stadium, too?

5: Winfried Schaefer ... Or Wasl could just dispense with the whole idea of manager-as-marketing-tool altogether, and go for a tried and trusted coaching yeoman instead. Much respected for his stint in charge of Al Ain, Schaefer, now Thailand coach, would fit the bill. But that would be boring ...

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