SYDNEY - Former Australia coach Graham Arnold has signed a three-year deal to coach Sydney FC after a stint in Japan and will be tasked with finding a replacement for Italy great Alessandro del Piero at the A-League club.
The long-serving Juventus forward proved a smash hit in his two years at Sydney FC and was credited for driving unprecedented interest in Australia's top flight, but confirmed last week he would not be extending his contract.
Arnold coached the cash-strapped Central Coast Mariners to their maiden A-League title last year, but will have more resources at his disposal at twice champions Sydney, who paid a league record A$2 million annual salary to secure Del Piero.
"I worked at a club that couldn't afford to have a marquee," 50-year-old Arnold told reporters in Sydney on Thursday of his time at the Mariners.
"But if you look at what Alessandro Del Piero did for this league and this football club, it's massive.
"We need to take our time to make sure we get the right ones who can have an impact that Alessandro did.
"We have to match - we'll never match that type of player with our next marquee, in status, but we have to try to match that in performance."
A former national striker and Socceroos coach from 2006-07, Arnold replaces another former Australia mentor in Frank Farina, who was sacked by the self-styled glamour club after their elimination from the first week of the playoffs last month.
Brisbane Roar sewed up their third A-League title with victory over Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday. (Writing by Ian Ransom; Editing by Nick Mulvenney)