Former Liverpool winger Albert Riera’s impressive young managerial career is set to continue with a new move, but he leaves a club top of the table.
Riera has caught attention in his early years as a manager, first with Olimpija Ljubljana and then with NK Celje, both in Slovenia.
The 41-year-old steered Olimpija to a league and cup double in his sole campaign with the club, before departing under financial pressure and suggestions of board interference.
His move to Celje has been a resounding success, as they currently sit top of the Slovenian PrvaLiga with 26 points from 11 games.
They were beaten by Robbie Keane’s Maccabi Tel Aviv in the playoff round of qualifiers for the Europa Conference League, but reached that stage overcoming a Vitoria de Guimaraes side ranked 252 places above them in UEFA’s rankings.
It may make Riera’s imminent move to Bordeaux a questionable one, with the Spaniard closing on a move to the Ligue 2 club this week.
L’Equipe reported on Monday that the French outfit had made his appointment a “priority” after sacking David Guion at the end of last week.
Riera is claimed to have already agreed a one-and-a-half-year contract to take charge, along with deals for two of his staff at Celje.
If he does make the move, as expected, it would serve as a homecoming of sorts, with Riera spending two years with Bordeaux towards the start of his playing career.
After breaking through with RCD Mallorca, the winger moved to Bordeaux in 2003, with a return to Spain with Espanyol his next stop, taking in a loan spell at Man City before joining Liverpool in 2008.
He was ultimately frozen out by Rafa Benitez following a public disagreement with the manager, going on to join Olympiakos in 2010 before playing for Galatasaray, Watford, Udinese, Mallorca, NK Zavrc and finally FC Koper.
It is clear that Riera is not averse to switching clubs as he embarks on his managerial career, just as he did when a player.
Bordeaux sit 13th in Ligue 2, the French second tier, having won just three of their first 10 games, after finishing just short of the promotion places in third last season.
That came under hugely controversial circumstances as their final-day clash with Rodez AF was declared a loss, after a fan attacked Rodez player Lucas Buades on the pitch.
They had been due to play last season in the third tier, demoted due to financial difficulties – and though they were reinstated to Ligue 2 after agreeing a debt restructuring plan, their monetary issues remain.