Arsenal legend is creating a 'talent factory' at Ajax - Report


Dennis Bergkamp has been praised for talent and youth development at Dutch club Ajax.

Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp has been heading a revolution in the Netherlands at Dutch club Ajax.

The former Gunners striker has been working as assistant boss to Frank de Boer at the Dutch giants and he’s been credited with playing a large part in the transformation of youth development and talent identification at the club and the Eredivisie in general.

Bergkamp has taken a hands on roll with the younger players at the club, which FourFourTwo claims is responsible for the constant supply of talent into the first team at Ajax.

“Overseeing the inflow of academy graduates, Bergkamp is continually aware of every young player’s strong and weak points. This way, the learning process doesn’t stop once a youngster reaches the first team,” reads part of the feature on the current site.

Bergkamp gets involved and the fact he still trains with the first team allows him to get a perfect idea of where the senior side is weak and strong and how the younger players coming through can address those areas.

It seems to be all about minute and particular detail for Bergkamp in his current job and his success is the reason Arsenal tried to lure him back to the club to become the head of their academy. He has that ability to create a successful and sustainable model.

“It’s for this reason, perhaps, that Bergkamp still puts on his football boots to train with the first team almost every day. Together with Jonk, it’s the Dutchman’s goal to turn Ajax’s whole setup into what they like to describe as a ‘talent factory’; a machine that – will always have a capable youngster ready to fill the void,” adds the report.

The problem any side faces if they’re looking to lure Bergkamp away from Ajax is that chairman Hennie Henrichs has allowed an identity to grow through using former Ajax players and stars in key positions all over the club.

It provides protection and allows individuals such as de Boer, Bergkamp and defensive coach Jaap Stam to ensure that the heart and soul of Ajax as a team is never lost through the growing contemporary tactic of buying in expensive players from outside.

Fortunately for the Gunners, they have a very solid academy system which is producing a lot of young players who offer Arsene Wenger options when it comes to the fringes of his first team.

Bergkamp isn’t quite ready to leave yet but when he is, Arsenal could pick up an even more talented coach than he was a player.

image: © SNappa2006

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