Dick Advocaat has signed a one-year contract extension to coach UEFA Champions League contenders FC Zenit St. Petersburg until the end of the 2009 Russian season, two weeks after agreeing the deal in principle.
The 61-year-old reached a verbal understanding with Zenit president Aleksandr Dyukov two weeks ago, after which he said "we gave our word to each other but at the same time the contract is not signed yet so either party could change their mind". However, Advocaat put pen to paper today on a deal which will take the Dutchman's tenure into a fourth season during which time Zenit will attempt to prise back the Premier-Liga crown won last week by FC Rubin Kazan.
Advocaat was appointed in July 2006, guiding the club to a fourth-place finish before they secured the Russian title last year, the 2007/08 UEFA Cup and the UEFA Super Cup in August. His charges have found the going tougher in recent months, though, lying fifth in Russia's top flight with three league games remaining and sitting third in Group H of Europe's premier club competition.
"We want to refresh the team," said Advocaat. "We were successful with this group of players but now some will leave and some will arrive. I want to reduce the squad from 24 or 25 to 20 next year." Off the pitch, Advocaat is to have a new assistant alongside him on the bench next term to replace Cornelius Pot, who is leaving the club to be closer to his family. "Bert van Lingen will most likely be my new assistant," he added. "He helped me when I coached the Netherlands and at Rangers [FC] as well."
Advocaat also addressed the ongoing issue of Andrei Arshavin's future at Zenit, saying that if the player wants to leave, then both club and individual should come to a compromise. "I think that both sides have to come to an agreement at the end of the season," he said. "Both the club and the player will benefit from his transfer."
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