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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Advocaat May Take Reins in St. Pete

Zenit St. Petersburg has confirmed recent speculation that Dick Advocaat is among several candidates for the vacant post of head coach, while foreign and domestic media have said that the Dutchman has already signed a contract at the club.

Should Advocaat -- currently manager of World Cup hopeful South Korea -- join Zenit, it would mark the second high-profile arrival of a Dutchman in Russian football after Guus Hiddink agreed to head the national team after the tournament ends on July 9.

The Zenit post has remained vacant since Vlastimil Petrzela left last month after a string of poor results.

A week after foreign media reported that Advocaat had already signed a $4 million contract, Gazeta.ru reported Sunday that Zenit on its web site had published information that might indicate the arrival of Advocaat as new head coach of the club.

But Zenit press attache Fyordor Pogorelov said he hadn't heard of that section of the web site, and a journalist's search of www.fc-zenit.ru yielded no published information on Advocaat.

"There are three to four candidates for the position. Mr. Advocaat is only one of them," Pogorelov said Sunday, refusing to give names of the other candidates as it would "make talks with them more difficult." He repeated the answer given to journalists after Petrzela's departure a month ago.

"There is no signature yet," Pogorelov said. He revealed that the success criteria for the next coach would be a top-three ranking in the Russian Premier League or a win in the Russian Cup. Either would result in entry into lucrative European competition in 2007.

Zenit failed to qualify for Europe for the forthcoming season after finishing a disappointing sixth, despite boasting one of the league's most lethal attacks in the shape of national team strikers Andrei Arshavin and Andrei Kerzhakov.

Advocaat is currently leading the South Korean national team into the World Cup finals, as Hiddink did four years ago when he coached the same country and stunned the football world by making the semifinals when the 2002 World Cup was co-hosted in South Korea.

Hiddink was subsequently worshipped as a hero is South Korea.

But Advocaat has also taken a team to a major championship semifinal, when he headed the Netherlands to the final four of the 2004 European championship. He then coached PSV Eindhoven, where Hiddink has just won the league title while managing Australia concurrently.

Advocaat's record so far with South Korea after taking charge last September is eight wins, three losses and six draws in 17 games.

On Sunday, South Korea lost 3-1 to Ghana in its last World Cup warm-up.