Mexican Javier Aguirre to become Japan's new coach, say reports
The 55-year-old, who led Mexico to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 and 2010, will reportedly pocket around US$2.45 million a year
Agence France-Presse in Tokyo
Mexican Javier Aguirre has agreed to become Japan's new coach following the resignation of Alberto Zaccheroni after his side's World Cup flop, media reported yesterday.
The 55-year-old Aguirre, who led Mexico to the last 16 of the World Cup in 2002 and 2010, will reportedly pocket around US$2.45 million a year - more than twice what his predecessor was on.
The Japan Football Association (JFA) said no formal decision had been made, but the former Espanyol manager could travel to Japan to be unveiled next month, the Nikkan Sports daily reported.
The two sides have reportedly reached a basic agreement on a four-year deal, to the 2018 World Cup in Russia, which would make Aguirre the highest-paid Japan coach yet.
Italian Zaccheroni stepped down after Japan's meek exit from the World Cup, where they were beaten by Ivory Coast, held to a goalless draw by 10-man Greece and thumped 4-1 by Colombia.
The JFA has had to dig deep after the Asian champions struggled in Brazil, sparking criticism of Zaccheroni's tactics and selection, as well as of key players such as Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, who were disappointing.
Long-time target Jose Pekerman, now in charge of World Cup high-flyers Colombia, and former Yugoslavia captain Dragan Stojkovic were among those also linked with the Japan job.
Zaccheroni, who guided Japan to a record fourth Asian Cup title in 2011, looked out of his depth at the World Cup, bereft of ideas as Japan were bullied by their more physical opponents.
Former Japan midfielder Daisuke Matsui, who helped the Blue Samurai reach the last 16 at the World Cup four years ago and played under Zaccheroni at the Asian Cup, said: "At the World Cup, where it really matters, Japan were soft."
JFA technical director Hiromi Hara said Aguirre's ties to Spain, where he lives, made him the perfect candidate.