Have Arsenal missed a trick with Dennis Bergkamp?

Dennis Bergkamp is a man with plenty of credentials. There’s little doubt that he is one of the greatest players to have ever graced the Premier League. Moreover, he’s probably the most technically-astute player to ever have pulled on an Arsenal shirt. Between 1995 and 2006 Dennis made 423 appearances for Arsenal and scored 120 goals. He well deserves his reputation as an Arsenal great.

Of course, Dennis also has a history with AFC Ajax. He joined the club aged just 12 and was brought up through Ajax’s famous youth system. He went on to make 239 appearances for the club and score 122 goals.

As a result, it’s not all-too-surprising that Dennis has recently been named the Ajax youth team manager. Ex-youth team boss Frank de Boer was recently promoted to manage the senior team following Martin Jol’s exit from the club, leaving space for Dennis to take on a coaching role at the club. Dennis has made little secret of his desire to move into coaching following his retirement from playing football. With strong links to both Arsenal and Ajax, it was always likely that he’d move to one or the other. Will Arsenal fans be kicking themselves now that he’s part of the Ajax set-up?

In February of last year, Wenger noted that Bergkamp had the potential to be a “very good coach”. Soon after Dennis told the press that he “wouldn’t rule out (working for Arsenal), I really love this club and the country and I love working here”. At this stage, Dennis Bergkamp’s progression into becoming part of the Arsenal coaching staff seemed inevitable.

Dennis also noted that he didn’t fancy work as a “head coach but instead as a member of staff, where I could work specifically with the strikers”. It’s a little surprising then, that he’s taken up a role as youth-team manager – something that’s likely to be much more time-consuming than he has previously been willing to commit himself to.

The move is a particularly astute one by Ajax. Bergkamp has been through De Toekomst himself and will be a man that Ajax’s young players can look up to and seek to emulate. He’s also a player who is sure to encourage his side to play more of the beautiful football that Ajax are famous for.

Yes it’s disappointing that Arsenal missed out on their man, but I wouldn’t feel too let down. I expect we’ll see Dennis Bergkamp join Arsenal’s coaching staff at some stage in the future. He has a real soft-spot for the club and has mentioned how he hopes to joining the Gunners coaching squad at some stage. Once Dennis has some experience under his belt, I’m sure Arsenal’s interest will begin to heat up. Bergkamp’s return to the Premier League may not be approaching in the near future, but the possibility remains in the horizon.

For more football debate and discussion please feel free to follow me on Twitter @ThePerfectPass.


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