Marcelo Gallardo has reportedly agreed to become the next manager of Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad. The Middle Eastern club previously sacked Nuno Espirito Santo earlier in the month after a poor run of form. Al-Ittihad sat sixth in the standings when they fired the former Wolves and Tottenham Hotspur manager.

Gallardo is set to now get the chance to right the ship at the club. The Argentine, however, will have a wait a bit to guide his new team on the pitch. Much like Europe, the Saudi top flight is also currently on an international break. Al-Ittihad does not play again for over a week.

TyC Sports is reporting that Gallardo has accepted Al-Ittihad’s offer and will soon travel to Saudi Arabia to make the deal official. Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano also confirms the upcoming move. The Argentine coach is set to sign a one-and-a-half-year deal with his new club. There is also an option to extend Gallardo’s stay in Saudi Arabia by another 18 months as well.

Argentine coach brings impressive record to Middle East

Gallardo previously featured as an attacking midfielder during his playing career. He initially starred for River Plate and French side Monaco before making moves to other clubs around the world. One of these stops included a one-year deal with Major League Soccer team D.C. United in 2008.

After retiring from the pitch, Gallardo quickly transitioned into coaching. He was hired by Uruguayan side Nacional as head coach just days after retiring as a player. The new manager led the team to the title in his first season at the helm.

Despite leaving Nacional after just one year, famed Argentine club River Plate appointed Gallardo in 2014. The young coach was a resounding success at his old outfit. Gallardo collected a host of trophies during his eight years with the club. River Plate won the Argentine Primera Division, Copa Libertadores, Copa Argentina, Supercopa Argentina, and Copa Sudamericana titles during Gallardo’s reign as manager.

Gallardo makes Saudi Pro League move despite preference for European job

Gallardo reportedly wanted to make a move to Europe after departing River Plate in late 2022. The coach even supposedly rejected opportunities in MLS, Brazil, and Mexico. Nevertheless, the right chance did not come for the manager. Instead, Gallardo will now join some high-profile players in the Middle East.

Karim Benzema, N’Golo Kanté and Fabinho all joined the Saudi side earlier this summer. The two France internationals were the first stars to agree contracts with Al-Ittihad in early July. Fabinho then united with the Frenchman a few weeks later in a $50 million move from Liverpool. Portuguese playmaker Jota and former Real Betis defender Luiz Felipe also signed on with the club as well.

Despite bringing in a plethora of new stars, Al-Ittihad has struggled a bit so far this season. After winning their first four league matches of the campaign, the club then only collected two victories in their next eight games. This was when team brass decided to fire Nuno Espirito Santo.

Gallardo will likely be at the helm for their next game later next week. Al-Ittihad next faces Al-Ettifaq on Thursday, Nov. 23.