Three former Celtic players were on the brink of becoming an unlikely dream team trio for Southend this week before talks were pulled at the eleventh hour.
Henrik Larsson, Johan Mjallby and Tommy Johnson were all sounded out for roles within the setup at Roots Hall. With almost everything in place, the rug was pulled out from under both the club and Henrik when Tommy Johnson gave very little notice he would not be taking up the post.
Tommy was to be the man who headed up the recruitment, while Henrik and Johan became the manager and assistant manager respectively. Tommy was pivotal to the deal because of his knowledge of the English game. Johan and Henrik would have been relying on his expertise to recruit well.
Here is a full statement from Southend over the collapse of the deal as reported by SunSport.
“Over the past week the club has been in detailed discussions with Henrik Larsson, Johan Mjallby and Tommy Johnson to be appointed manager, assistant manager and head of recruitment, respectively.
“Terms were agreed with all parties and arrangements were confirmed for Henrik, Johan and their agent to fly over this evening with a view to attending at Roots Hall, along with Tommy Johnson, to sign the contracts tomorrow.
“Within the last hour Tommy Johnson advised Henrik, and subsequently me, that he had decided not to join Henrik and Johan having today accepted an alternative offer.
“Henrik, Johan and Tommy for both my part, and Henrik’s too, came as a team.
“It was critical to the club that we had an individual, as part of that threesome, who was not only well known to Henrik and Johan but completely familiar with the English leagues.
“Including all the players from not just League One but the Championship and League Two also.
“As a consequence of Tommy Johnson withdrawing, all discussions with Henrik Larsson and Johan Mjallby have, unfortunately, come to an end too”
This was always a strange move. Henrik Larsson in the lower leagues in England with an outfit who are struggling big time might not have been the best move for his career.
The Celtic legend wants to become a top coach but has struggled in several roles to date. Johan Mjallby has got some great experience behind him and could really help Henrik in an assistant manager capacity should they find another opportunity.
Tommy choosing to go elsewhere could be a blessing for all three men but Henrik might not see it like that at the moment after putting so much time into this potential move.