Dennis Bergkamp says he’s ready to return to football and sees himself taking a position outside the Netherlands.
It has been nearly 18 months since the 50-year-old was sacked by Marc Overmars and Edwin van der Sar due to ‘a difference of opinion about the technical policy to be implemented’ at Ajax.
Bergkamp had returned to Ajax, the club that gave him his debut as a 17-year-old, in a coaching capacity in 2010 as Johan Cruyff looked to get the club back on track after six years without an Eredivisie title. He went on to become Fran de Boer’s assistant in the dugout but took more of a backseat under Peter Bosz.
On the lookout for a new opportunity, the Arsenal great explained that he’d ideally use his experience to nurture up-and-coming talents.
“At Ajax, I formed a bridge between the academy and the first-team,” he’s quoted as saying in the Mirror.
“And I want to work in a similar way – talent development, a role on the coaching staff and, where needed, working individually with top talents.
“We’ve seen many styles in the game but whatever you analyse, it comes down to pure football talent – and developing that talent.
“That’s where I want to contribute. At Ajax, I was not just focusing on the first-team strikers when it came to specialist training, I also enjoyed working with strikers in the academy – taking them to a higher level.
“My time at Ajax ended very suddenly. But I’m not done in football yet. I now see myself getting a job abroad.”
Bergkamp also touched on the important role played by Cruyff, who died in 2016, in luring him back to Ajax.
“Cruyff’s influence runs like a thread through my career,” he said.
“He was the one who picked me out when I was still playing in a youth team, putting me straight into the first team, while others had doubts.
“Johan came up with his blueprint for Ajax in 2010. We both felt things had to change and we were on the same page immediately.
“We had dinner and he opened my eyes. That was the beginning of the ‘Cruyff revolution’ at Ajax.
“The club had been going in a certain direction. But Johan and I had different ideas to them about coaching and producing players.
“I’ve always been a massive fan of Johan Cruyff’s football vision.”
As much as any Arsenal fan would love to have Dennis Bergkamp back at the club, it doesn’t feel like we’re set-up to accommodate his genius at the moment.
Dennis doesn’t want – or have the experience to undertake – an administrative position, which rules him out of any link with the vacant Technical Director position.
The major roles at the Academy are currently filled and Unai Emery, whose coaching team he tends to take wherever he goes, is unlikely to want to bring in a man with a reputation that could in any way undermine his own.
We could create a position out of nothing (it’s Dennis!) but that’s something that Arsene Wenger often suggested was a bad idea. Perhaps the timing isn’t right. No doubt, this news will have other clubs on red alert though. It’ll be interesting to see where he ends up.