The 43-year-old Dutchman is currently Frank de Boer’s assistant manager at Dutch champions Ajax where he began his playing career more than 30 years ago. He was, and still is, most famed for his decade spent at Arsenal where he became one of the greatest footballers of his generation.
Bergkamp 423 appearances in an Arsenal shirt, scored 120 goals and made 124 assists. He won 3 Premier League titles, 4 FA Cup, and 3 Community Shield medals during his time in North London.
His relationship with manager Arsene Wenger was undoubtedly a special one – in fact I would assert that Bergkamp is probably Wenger’s favourite player of all, even ahead of Thierry Henry and Cesc Fabregas.
I wrote an article a while back asserting my belief that Bergkamp will eventually be Wenger’s successor as Arsenal manager. Some people commented that due to his fear of flying this would be unlikely but, and I could be wrong; I still think he will be.
The work the “Non-Flying Dutchman’ has been doing behind the scenes with Ajax is the perfect groundwork and preparation for a position with the Gunners where I fully expect he will be hired as a replacement for another great Arsenal legend Liam Brady.
What Brady currently provides Wenger, the club, the players and the fans is continuity. Brady was the Gunners’ best player of his generation and remains a true legend. Arsenal need someone equally as important to the club and its history to build on Brady’s legacy through his work with the new generation.
Who could possibly be more important than Dennis Bergkamp? Who could possibly be more of a role-model, an inspiration and an authority on quality control for the youth of today and the future of Arsenal FC that him?
The answer is no one. There is not one other appointment that could have as much of a positive impact on the club. Personally, I think even just having back around, going about business as usual day in day out could uplift the club and the community.
Bergkamp belongs at Arsenal – times may have changed, along with new stadiums, new problems, and new money but a connection to the past is fundamental to the future.
Arsenal’s youth academy is their future. At the moment there is staleness to the club, the team and weariness about the manager and the fans. The Dutch master is exactly the injection of quality personnel and energy the club need to revitalize over the summer.
He’s exactly what the doctor ordered for Arsenal's ills. If Arsenal make one new signing this summer, it ought to be Bergkamp who, for my money, will be next Head of Youth Development and maybe even manager elect in a few years time.
image: © nicksarebi
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