Paulo Bento and Alberto Zaccheroni join battle to become UAE coach

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Next in line?: Paulo Bento (r) when at Olympiacos (Getty).

Former Portugal coach Paulo Bento and experienced ex-AC Milan tactician Alberto Zaccheroni have both registered interest in filling the vacant UAE post.

A three-man panel from the UAE Football Association are currently assessing options to replace Edgardo Bauza. The Argentine, 59, shockingly defected to World Cup 2018 qualifiers Saudi Arabia two weeks ago, after just three competitive ties.

Ex-Al Wahda and Mexico boss Javier Aguirre, Peru’s Ricardo Gareca and former-Germany and United States supremo Jurgen Klinsmann feature prominently in their thoughts. Yet this hasn’t stopped solicitations from elsewhere.

Bento, 48, boasts extensive international knowledge from his time in charge of Portugal from 2010-14 – a period which included a semi-final loss at Euro 2012 and group-stage exit at World Cup 2014. For 64-year-old Zaccheroni, he is available for work after a group-stage exit of his own with Japan at the global event three years ago and subsequent short spell at China’s Beijing Guoan.

Both candidates would accept a similar package to the $4 million deal agreed with Bauza and his staff in May up until the end of January 2019’s Asian Cup on home soil.

This is substantially less than the 5m (Dh21.8m) per annum desired by the unattached Klinsmann.

Bento is also without an employer because of an acrimonious exit from Olympiacos.

The 35-times-capped ex-defensive midfielder was dismissed in March despite the club being seven points clear at the top of the Greek Superleague, plus making the last 16 of the Europa League and semi-finals of the Greek Football Cup.

This followed criticism by him about the mental strength displayed by members of his squad.

Prior to his Portugal stint, he lifted four major trophies at Sporting Lisbon from 2005-09.

Mandated representative DNN Sport has offered Zaccheroni to the UAE. His biggest achievements have been winning the 1998/99 Serie A crown with Milan and 2011 Asian Cup with Japan.

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Bert van Marwijk added to list of UAE targets but wage demands could scupper move

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Kingdom come: Bert van Marwijk (r) for Saudi Arabia against UAE (Getty).

Bert van Marwijk has emerged as a potential target to become the UAE’s next coach if a sizeable difference in wage demands can be bridged, his work successfully transforming all levels of Saudi Arabian football making the beaten World Cup 2010 finalist of particular interest.

Van Marwijk, 65, surprisingly became available two weeks ago after a serious fracture in the relationship between himself and the Green Falcons hierarchy followed the attainment of World Cup 2018 qualification. This led to Argentine Edgardo Bauza’s shock defection across the border from the Emirates following only three mixed competitive matches in charge.

A job swap is now possible as the UAE Football Association’s three-man panel attempt to identify the man to lead the nation on home soil at the 2019 Asian Cup. If the ex-Feyenoord, Borussia Dortmund and Hamburg tactician is recruited, a takeover could occur in a bid to replicate the success experienced by the Saudi Football Federation under technical director Jan van Winckel and Under-23 boss Adrie Koster – a post that is also empty after Hassan Al Abdouli failed to make the 2018 AFC U-23 Championship.

The main competition comes from ex-Al Wahda, Japan and Mexico boss Javier Aguirre. Former United States and Germany supremo Jurgen Klinsmann was also a target in the wake of Mahdi Ali’s March resignation, along with Peru tactician Ricardo Gareca.

Their pursuit of No1 pick Cosmin Olaroiu of Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club has proven impossible once again. They are unable to match the reputed €6.5 million (Dh28.5m) to be paid in the final year of the Romanian’s deal at his current employers.

Remuneration is a significant hurdle for the Whites.

All their main European options demand a rate far higher than the $4m agreed with Bauza, which would have paid him and his staff until February 2019.

Van Marwijk alone earned €2.2m (Dh9.7m) a year with the Saudis and wants a raise to €3m (Dh13.2m). Klinsmann is holding out for a €5m (Dh22m) annual package.

But a deal with Van Marwijk is a tantalising one. The highlight of his spell with the Netherlands from 2008-12 was leading them to a 1-0 extra-time loss in the global showpiece against Spain seven years ago.

The Saudis were transformed by him upon arrival in August 2015. He earned a first World Cup entry since 2006 this month, also edging the UAE out of the picture.

But the SFF’s unilateral sacking of several staff members and Van Marwijk’s refusal to spend 23 days a month in the Kingdom saw talks about a contract renewal terminated.

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Javier Aguirre emerges as UAE option after Mexico, Atletico Madrid, Japan and Al Wahda spells

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On the list: Javier Aguirre (r) when with Al Wahda (Getty).

Former Al Wahda and Mexico coach Javier Aguirre has emerged as a potential option to lead the UAE on home soil at the 2019 Asian Cup.

The Whites are currently searching for a new boss after Argentine Edgardo Bauza shockingly moved to World Cup 2018 qualifiers Saudi Arabia last Thursday after only three competitive matches.

An emergency board meeting was held by the UAE Football Association on Tuesday, the identity of a successor one of several issues up for discussion. Trophy-hoarding Shabab Al Ahli Dubai Club supremo Cosmin Olaroiu remains their No1 pick, but the Romanian both distanced himself from the job at the weekend and has one year remaining on his contract worth a reputed €6.5 million (Dh28.5m) per annum.

This has presented an opportunity for other candidates. Aguirre, 58, is unattached following an exit from the Clarets in the wake of May’s victory in the President’s Cup final and ex-Middlesbrough manager Aitor Karanka, 44, has also expressed an interest through his agents at DNN Sport.

According to Spanish media, the pair have turned down the chance this week to takeover pointless La Liga-strugglers Alaves.

Aguirre fulfils much of the criteria laid out when the governing body was searching for a successor to Mahdi Ali in the wake of March’s resignation. They coveted a Latin American coach, with experience of international football.

The ex-Atletico Madrid tactician led Mexico to second-round exits at the 2002 and 2010 World Cups. He would go on to resign from Japan in the wake of the UAE’s quarter-final victory against the Samurai Blue at the 2015 Asian Cup.

His candidature is further strengthened by a firm grasp of English and time leading Wahda from 2015-17, a run including victories in the 2015/16 Arabian Gulf Cup and 2016/17 President’s Cup.

Emerging Emirati talents such as forward Mohamed Al Akbari, defender Ahmed Rashed and attacker Mohammed Al Hammadi featured regularly under him.

But he was let go by Wahda after he could only finish a distant fifth in the 2016/17 Arabian Gulf League. Aguirre also stressed a desire to spend time with his family once he departed Abu Dhabi.

Another option is the combined team of Karanka and Spain Under-17 coach Santi. They would offer a project for the future, plus their joint wage would be less than the $4m a year agreed to by Bauza.

Karanka was assistant to Jose Mourinho from 2010-13 at Real Madrid, a club he previously played for.

Striking out on his own, he gained promotion for Middlesbrough while there from 2013-17. He departed by mutual consent in March after a difficult return to the Premier League.

The UAE currently have no friendlies booked for the next international break from October 2-10. Their failure to make World Cup 2018 was confirmed this month.

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