Thailand boss Milovan Rajevac fields interest from Chinese club
Thailand head coach Milovan Rajevac could be set to leave his post after just six months in the job, with at least one club in China expressing an interest in his services.
The Serbian was appointed to the Thailand job in May of this year, following the surprise resignation of Kiatisuk "Zico" Senamuang. The former Ghana boss signed a one-year deal, with a view to extending it if all parties were happy with results.
ESPN FC understands that Rajevac and his team are keen to stay in Thailand, but they are now looking for the Football Association of Thailand (FAT) to commit themselves to an extended deal.
The War Elephants took just one point from their final three World Cup qualifying matches under Rajevac. But they looked more solid defensively, conceding five times in these matches, compared to nine in the previous three.
Injury-hit Thailand were within a minute of their first-ever victory in the final stage of World Cup qualifying before the United Arab Emirates snatched a last-gasp equaliser in Bangkok in June, and were also on course for a draw in Melbourne before Australia struck late.
The Thais won the Kings Cup invitational tournament in July with victories over North Korea and Belarus. And this month, Thailand had impressive friendly wins against Myanmar (away) and Kenya (home) -- with the Africans sitting almost 40 places above them in the FIFA rankings.
Rajevac, who led Ghana to a World Cup quarterfinal in 2010, has successfully introduced some new players to the squad, and he feels he has done enough to earn a new deal on improved terms. If this is not forthcoming, it seems he is ready to move elsewhere, with China one of the options.
With no international fixtures remaining this year, the FAT may think they have time to consider other options before committing to an extended deal for Rajevac.
Next year is a big one for the War Elephants, with a third successive AFF Suzuki Cup the target, along with preparations for the Asian Cup in the U.A.E. in Jan. 2019.
But the FAT may have to move fast if they want Rajevac to be in charge during this period as the 63-year-old considers offers from elsewhere.
Bangkok-based Paul Murphy has lived in Asia for a decade, writing for ESPN FC since 2014. He is a former Daily Express sub-editor. @PaulMurphyBKK