Dragan Stojkovic wants Guangzhou R&F to be 'big club' like Arsenal
Dragan Stojkovic has said he wants to transform Guangzhou R&F "into a big club like Arsenal."
Former Yugoslavia international Stojkovic played under Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger at Japanese club Nagoya Grampus in 1995, leading the team to a runners-up spot, and the two have remained close ever since.
When Stojkovic coached Nagoya to a first-ever Japanese title in 2010, he was touted by some as a possible successor to Wenger at the Emirates.
"With Wenger's guidance, I played football," Stojkovic, who replaced Sven-Goran Eriksson as head coach at Guangzhou in August 2015, said in an interview in South Korea.
"Nagoya emphasised the importance of technical football and it was a time to learn about the philosophy of modern football.
"I want to have Guangzhou R&F playing beautiful football all the time, and at least so far, my efforts here have not been in vain."
Stojkovic added that he wanted "to help make Guangzhou into a big club like Arsenal, run on a secure budgetary framework."
He said: "Chinese football is developing quickly, and we want to be a part of that."
Despite their first defeat of the season at home to Guizhou Zhicheng on Friday, Guangzhou -- who finished sixth last year -- stayed top of the league with seven games of 30 played.
"It is my dream to lead Guangzhou to the title," Stojkovic said. "We know that we are top of the league at the moment, but that is not of interest.
"It is my responsibility to ensure that we keep working hard and play attractive football for the fans."
Asian expert John Duerden is the author of Lions and Tigers: Story of Football in Singapore and Malaysia.Twitter: @JohnnyDuerden.