JOHN Aloisi and Arthur Papas are locked in battle to become Melbourne Victory’s new coach after negotiations with former Greek international Traianos Dellas broke down.
Dellas was in the box seat to be appointed Victory boss but sources close to the club have revealed that his salary demands and desire to bring a coaching staff with him led to advanced discussions amounting to nothing.
Current Wellington coach Ufuk Talay was also in strong contention but he now seems certain to remain with the Phoenix.
An announcement is expected soon, with Aloisi and Papas understood to be leading the race and having support from different members of the Victory board.
Watch every match of the 2019/20 Hyundai A-League Season LIVE on Kayo. New to Kayo? Get your 14-day free trial & start streaming instantly >
Former Melbourne Heart and Brisbane Roar coach Aloisi has previously worked for the Victory’s football department and has extensive knowledge of how the club operates.
Papas is a disciple of former Victory and Socceroos coach Ange Postecoglou.
The ex-Green Gully coach is currently Postecoglou’s right-hand man at Japanese club Yokohama F. Marinos, the defending J1 League champions.
Whoever gets the job will have the task of lifting the Victory, the former A-League heavyweights, out of the doldrums.
Heading into Saturday night’s clash against Perth Glory at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, the 10th-placed Victory have lost five successive games for the first time in the club’s history.
Interim Victory coach Grant Brebner has been in charge for three of those defeats – including last Monday’s embarrassing 3-2 loss to wooden spooners Central Coast – after taking over from Spaniard Carlos Salvachua, who left the club and returned to Europe during the competition’s COVID-19-enforced break.
It’s understood Brebner would remain on the Victory’s coaching staff under either Papas or Aloisi.
Brebner insisted the Victory were not in a “development stage” for the remainder of their disastrous 2019-20 campaign despite sights having been set on next season,
“Results are something we still want to feel that we’re achieving,” he said.
“We have to make sure as professional athletes and staff that we continually address things, we continually focus on the job at hand.”
Brebner said while life in a NSW hub was made tougher by the poor results, the Victory squad were well aware of the much harder times their families and friends were facing in lockdown in Victoria.
“In seven days’ time we’ll be back in Melbourne and doing it really tough,” he said.
“We’ve got a job to do, we need to perform as footballers but the real people that are doing it tough at the moment are in Melbourne, and we’re thinking of them, more than ourselves.”
Brebner said fit-again Socceroos attacker Andrew Nabbout – set to join Perth next season – would return for Saturday night’s clash.