x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 July 2017

Former Chelsea player Dan Petrescu in line to coach Al Nasr

Dubai-based UAE Pro League club claim the deal is '90 per cent' done to appoint Walter Zenga's successor, reports John McAuley.

Dan Petrescu currently manages Russian football club Dynamo Moscow.
Dan Petrescu currently manages Russian football club Dynamo Moscow.

DUBAI // Al Nasr are confident Dan Petrescu, the current coach of Dynamo Moscow, will accept their offer to become the club’s new manager.

The Pro League side have been searching for a successor to Walter Zenga since parting company with the Italian 10 days ago, and approached Petrescu after Sven-Goran Eriksson, Nasr’s recently departed technical advisor, recommended him to the board.

Petrescu, who played with distinction in England with Chelsea, has emerged as Nasr’s first choice to replace Zenga, although the club maintain they have another option, should he decide to reject the proposal.

Bernd Schuster, the former Real Madrid manager, and Mano Menezes, the coach of the Brazilian national team until last October, were also considered for the role, however it appears neither represents the other name still under consideration.

A source at Nasr revealed the deal to bring Petrescu to Al Maktoum Stadium is “90 per cent” complete, and that they expect to announce his arrival within the next 48 hours.

“We hope Petrescu will sign,” said the club official. “We’re just waiting for his signature. He has been our No 1 target for some time, and we feel he is the right man to take the club forward next season.

“However, if Petrescu doesn’t agree, we have an alternative for the position. But we cannot provide a name.”

Despite being relatively young, Petrescu, 45, already has a wealth of managerial experience. Following a prosperous playing career in England and with the Romanian national team, his first prominent managerial job came in 2006 with Poland’s Wisla Krakow.

Petrescu then returned to Romania, and by the conclusion of the 2008/09 season, had secured the league championship with Unirea Urziceni, one of the country’s less-celebrated clubs, before enjoying fleeting success in the Uefa Champions League the subsequent season.

After two and a half years in Russia with Kuban Krasnodar - they achieved promotion to the Russian Premier League - Petrescu signed a three-year contract at Dynamo last August. The season proved a disappointing one, though, as the club finished seventh and failed to qualify for the Europa League.

Initially, Petrescu wanted to remain in the Russian capital, yet his relationship with the Dynamo board reportedly became strained because they would not provide funds this summer to significantly improve the squad.

While the deal to bring Petrescu to Nasr could still require a little finessing - his release clause with Dynamo is set at €12 million (Dh58m) - the Dubai club believe they will have a new manager in place by Thursday.

They also aim to have added to their playing staff, with negotiations ongoing regarding the acquisition of Ibrahima Toure, the Monaco striker.

However, the former Ajman forward is also attracting interest from clubs in France’s Ligue 1.

“Marseille and Lyon want to sign him and, as those clubs can offer Champions League football, it makes it more difficult for us,” said the Nasr official. “But we hope to convince him to come to us.

“He’s the only international player we would sign before the new coach is installed.”

mcauley@thenational.ae

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