Guangzhou Evergrande have fired Korean coach Lee Jang-Soo and will name Marcello Lippi as his replacement tomorrow, according to Chinese media.
Speculation over Lee’s future at the Cantonese club had been mounting for some time, despite the club repeatedly issuing assurances over the future of the former Beijing Guoan head coach, who master minded Guangzhou’s first-ever Chinese Super League championship win last season.
Rumours have also persisted this season about Lippi being brought in to replace Lee, but Evergrande also denied these, as did the veteran Italian coach himself. But it now appears that Lippi is set to take over, Sina Sports report Guangzhou will make an announcement tomorrow at 2pm.
Lee has departed Evergrande despite the club leading the Chinese Super League at the moment, and qualifying from the group stages of the ACL last night, albeit narrowly. He announced the news to his players in Thailand last night (pictured, top).
Sohu Sports quoted Korean media sources as saying Lee had an agreement in place to resign after the final ACL group game, however, its unclear if he was pushed or jumped of his own volition.
Lee is no stranger to suddenly departing clubs during succesful spells – he was sacked as Beijing Guoan manager in 2009 whilst the capital side were leading the Chinese Super League in September 2009.
Speaking of his latest misfortune, Sohu Sports reported Lee as saying, “It’s no problem, it’s not important. But I do think its a bit hard to take, after all the team just qualified for the last 16 of the Asian Champions League, and they are top of the Chinese Super League after ten games.
Of his future, Lee said, “I am going to rest for a while, there has been too much pressure on my shoulders recently, I need to relax. I need to go back to China for a few days to take care of some arrangements, then I’ll return to Korea.”