Vélez Sarsfield may be in the thick of a relegation battle but look to have made an astute appointment in hiring former Argentina defender Gabriel Heinze ahead of the critical second half of the season.
Heinze will be officially presented to the press on Tuesday at the Estadio José Amalfitani but has already been confirmed on the club’s official Twitter.
The club statement read: “Gabriel Heinze will become the next technical director of Vélez Sarsfield. The coach will sign an 18-month contract with the club and will be unveiled on Tuesday.”
The 39-year-old will be Vélez’s third manager of the campaign, taking over from caretaker boss Marcelo Gómez after Omar de Felippe’s last month.
¡Bienvenido Gabriel Heinze! ⚽ El nuevo Director Técnico de #Vélez será presentado ante la prensa nacional y partidaria el próximo martes en el Salón VIP del tercer piso del @velezestadio pic.twitter.com/uqRS0lIWc1
— Vélez Sarsfield (@Velez) December 10, 2017
19th in the Superliga table in the current season, far more concerning for Vélez supporters is the club’s position in the relegation system. The six defeats this season see Vélez sit precariously in the position directly above the drop zone and have an eight-point cushion on Olimpo sitting just below.
Heinze might not be the most experienced manager having only called time on his glittering playing career in 2014 but after guiding Argentinos Juniors back into the top flight last season, El Gringo is a highly regarded coach.
The Olympic gold medal, former Argentina international began and ended his playing career with Newell’s Old Boys but had spells at Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United, Real Madrid and Marseille among others before heading back to Argentina at the tail end of his career.
Despite not holding his license at the time, Heinze moved swiftly into coaching with Godoy Cruz but unable to fully do his job from the dugout, the new manager was fired after two months, having won two of the ten matches in charge.
However disappointing that may have been Heinze answered his critics with Argentinos Juniors, quickly building an attractive, attacking side that swept to the Nacional B title and securing promotion. The 39-year-old had done what he had promised to do and decided to walk away rather than continue at the cash-strapped club in the Superliga but has since found himself courted by a number of clubs.
San Lorenzo had most recently been linked with a move for Heinze following Diego Aguirre’s resignation and so it is perhaps something of a coup that Vélez have persuaded the Entre Ríos-born coach to take the reins.
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