Former Chelsea director flees new job in Ukraine ... after one month

Ex Tottenham Hotspur director of football Frank Arnesen has left Metalist Kharkiv after one month at the club.

As a player Frank Arnesen was solid, unassuming, and reliable. The Dane had spells at Valencia, Anderlecht and PSV in his time - but was most well-known for his six years with Ajax.

But he is perhaps more famous in the United Kingdom for his post-playing career.

He became sporting director at Tottenham Hotspur in 2004 before spending five years in the same role at Chelsea between 2005 and 2010.

Arnesen played a key role in the signatures of Salomon Kalou, Florent Malouda and in the controversial signing of John Obi Mikel - and often found himself mired in controversy, especially because of his frequent disagreements with boss Jose Mourinho.

But if he thought his time at Chelsea was bad his most recent post was quite frankly ridiculous.

After he left Chelsea he spent two years as technical director of Hamburg SV - but left in May of last year after his role at the club became criticised by disgruntled HSV fans.

In January however he received a role with an ambitious Ukrainian side - with dreams of Champions League football after a steady period of growth in their country.

He joined Metalist Kharkiv as their new sporting director in February the first - with hopes of a long and prosperous new career in Eastern Europe ahead of him.

However that has not come to pass.

Ukraine is currently battle-torn - after mass protests in Kiev recently led to an overthrow of the government and major tension in the Crimea region and parts of Eastern Ukraine.

And just a few weeks after he signed on - he has left.

He confirmed he had decided to leave the club after consulting with his family:

“I am used to working in Western Europe, and I've never experienced anything like that is happening in the Ukraine. After the violent demonstrations in Kiev, my family were very upset, and so we held a family council first in London and then in Eindhoven. My family was very uncomfortable with the situation and so they asked me to stop in Kharkiv... I really liked being there, and the project was very exciting. But football was just pushed aside because of everything that happened in the country…”

He also confirmed he returned any payment for his solitary month at the club - and will now be seeking a similar role elsewhere.

For Kharkiv though the drama has just begun. Their president Sergey Kurchenko is allied with deposed Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych and recently had his assets frozen by the EU over accusations of embezzlement.

image: © Aleksandr Osipov

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