If the latter part of Sven Goran Eriksson’s career demonstrates anything, it is that when one reaches the upper echelons of a chosen field, there it is nigh on impossible to make oneself unemployable. In fact, his recent exploits appear to confirm the old adage that in his particular field, football management, nothing succeeds quite like failure.
Eriksson’s last three appointments have been at Thai Premier League outfi BEC Tero Sasanaand, Dubai-based club Al Nasr SC, and until last week, Chinese Super League club Guangzhou R&F. Indeed, one would have to go all the way back to the turn of the millennium, to Eriksson’s days at Lazio, to find a period when he could be deemed to have been a genuinely successful coach. And yet, 15 years on, Eriksson has been named by Shanghai East Asia as their new coach, in a deal that reportedly places him back amongst the highest earners in football management.
The Swede quit Guangzhou R&F last week, walking out on a reported annual salary of £1.5 million, but Chinese media said his new club was willing to double that salary.
“I am very happy and very proud that it is finally official that we are here and I am going to be the head coach of this club,” Eriksson told a news conference.
“I am looking forward to start work and looking forward to a new challenge.”
Shanghai East Asia intends to spend 500 million yuan (£52 million) on developing their side next season, according to reports in China. A hefty chunk of that, it has to be said, will be end up in Eriksson’s bank account.
A £4 million salary would rank Eriksson among the top 20 best paid managers in the world, according to the latest study by France Football magazine.
One would have thought that the Swede had earnned enough over the course of a much-travelled and highly renumerated managerial career to be contemplating an easy life as he enters his pensionable years.
However, after becoming the unfortunate victim of an unscrupulous financial adviser, Eriksson has been forced to remain in gainful employment as he seeks to recoup past losses.
“I still have some money,” he said in 2013 when asked about his predicament. “I’m not bankrupt.”
Eriksson joined Guangzhou in June last year, and clinched a slot in the AFC Champions League with a third-place finish this season.
Shanghai East Asia – who are sometimes called Shanghai SIPG for sponsorship reasons – finished fifth in last season’s Chinese Super League.
The Chinese football season traditionally runs from March to November.