Mexico’s Javier Aguirre has agreed to coach the Japanese national soccer team through the 2018 World Cup, Nikkan Sports newspaper said Monday.
But the Japanese Soccer Federation told Efe that a decision on the squad’s next coach is still pending.
Alberto Zaccheroni resigned the position last week after Japan was eliminated from the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Japanese media have focused on Aguirre, who coached the Mexican national side to the Round of 16 in the 2002 and 2010 World Cups, as the most likely successor to the Italian.
Nikkan said Aguirre was ready to sign a deal that would pay him 1.8 million ($2.45 million) a year, around 20 percent more than Zaccheroni’s reported compensation.
Besides his experience with Mexico’s national team, Aguirre has coached the Mexican clubs America and Pachuca as well as Osasuna, Espanyol and Atletico Madrid in Spain.
Other names bandied about in Japanese media as potential replacements for Zaccheroni include Spaniard Victor Fernandez, Dragan Stojkovic of Serbia and even current Colombian coach Jose Pekerman, now busy preparing his squad for a World Cup quarterfinal against Brazil.