Quique Sanchez Flores has turned down the chance to coach Al-Hilal, Arab News can exclusively reveal.
The former Valencia and Atletico Madrid coach, who left Espanyol last week, was high on the shortlist of candidates to replace Ramon Diaz who was fired in February. The Spaniard was contacted by football intermediaries to see if he fancied taking on the job of coaching the biggest team in the Kingdom and reports in the media suggest he was close to agreeing a deal with the Asian Champions League runners-up.
But sources close to Sanchez Flores have told us this afternoon he is not interested in coaching in Saudi Arabia and turned down the invitation to even discuss the role with the Al-Hilal board.
Sanchez Flores does have experience of working in the Middle East having coached in the UAE with Al-Ahli and Al-Ain and would have ticked a lot of boxes. He could definitely have asked his trusty assistants Antonio Diaz Carlavilla and Alberto Giraldez to come with him. But the 53-year-old has, we are told, no desire to return to the region at this stage of his career and uproot his four children who are settled back in Spain after a season in England when he coached Premier League club Watford. Sanchez Flores also turned down the chance to coach Stoke City earlier this year.
Missing out on Sanchez Flores will represent a blow for the Al-Hilal board who are still searching for Diaz’s replacement — more than two months after parting company with the Argentine.
Juan Ignacio Brown was placed in caretaker charge of the team and he ensured Al-Hilal went onto clinch the Saudi Pro League title on the final day, but the 40-year-old Argentine is not thought to be in the running to land the job on a permanent basis and the fact the board sounded out Sanchez Flores, who won the Europa League with Atletico Madrid, would suggest they are setting their sights on a top-level coach.
Juande Ramos was linked with the vacancy as soon as Diaz was fired, but there appears to have been no move to recruit the Spaniard, despite him being out of work since December 2016.