Istanbul (AFP) – Dutch coach Dick Advocaat on Monday arrived in Istanbul to take over as manager of Turkish giants Fenerbahce and reverse the club’s fortunes after it failed to win silverware last season and exited this year’s Champions League.

Advocaat’s rapid appointment follows the sacking of Vitor Pereira in an acrimonious parting that ended with the club unilaterally terminating the contract of the Portuguese.

He arrived late afternoon at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gokcen airport for final talks, Fenerbahce’s television channel said.  

In a lightning fast process, he could be taking charge of the team’s training as soon as Tuesday, the NTV channel and Fanatik sports daily reported.

In a statement to Fanatik, Advocaat, 68, appeared to confirm the appointment, saying he thought he would not return to club management but Fenerbahce made an offer he could not refuse.

“Fenerbahce made me an unbelievable offer. And I agreed. You don’t turn down such an offer from such a big club,” he was quoted as saying.

In a colourful managerial career spanning over three decades that has seen spells with some two dozen clubs and countries, Advocaat had most recently managed clubs including Zenit St Petersburg and Sunderland.  

Fenerbahce decided to part company with Pereira after the team’s defeat at the hands of Monaco in the third qualifying round of the Champions League earlier this month.

The board are keen to have a new manager in place for when Fenerbahce take on Grashopper of Zurich in the first leg of play-offs for the Europa League in Istanbul on Thursday.

– ‘Surprised and disappointed’ –

Advocaat has stepped down from his position as assistant to Netherlands national manager Danny Blind for the move, the Royal Netherlands Football Association (KNVB) said in a statement.

“I am surprised and disappointed,” it quoted Blind as saying.

“When I first approached Dick to be an assistant he gave me the impression he would engage himself for the long term.”

Pereira, a former Porto and Olympiakos boss, was appointed Fenerbahce coach in June 2015. 

But the club lost out to local rivals Besiktas in the race for the league title last season despite boasting talent like former Manchester United stars Robin van Persie and Nani.

Peirera’s sacking had been reported by Turkish media on Thursday but was only confirmed by Fenerbahce on Monday, with the Portuguese clearly unhappy with the manner of his dismissal.

The club said that Pereira had left the country on Saturday along with his assistants, without informing Fenerbahce.

It said his contract had been “terminated” and the legal consequences would be handled in coordination with FIFA and the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).

Nani has now left the club but some Turkish media have seen Pereira’s departure as a major boost for Dutchman Van Persie who has stayed on and had notoriously poor relations with the Fenerbahce ex-manager.