Amsterdam football team Ajax look certain to lose another key player – according to media reports, defender John Heitinga has agreed to join Atletico Madrid.
And there are rumours that star striker Klaas-Jan Huntelaar is looking for a new club too.
Marco van Basten, who will take over as Ajax coach in the summer, will have his work cut out. The former international is expected to attract better footballers to the club than his immediate predecessors. He also wants to nurture more talented players from the Ajax’s famous youth programme.
But did Van Basten try to change Heitinga’s mind about leaving and did he call Huntelaar to tell him he has a bright future at the club? If his clumsy communication skills as national team coach – his current job – are anything to go by, the chances are that he didn’t.
Yesterday Arjen Robben complained in a newspaper interview that he had heard nothing from the Dutch coach since being injured. And last week striker Dirk Kuijt had to learn via the media that he will not be selected for the national team.
In the past, poor communication skills have damaged Van Basten’s relations with Ruud van Nistelrooy, Edgar Davids and Marc van Bommel.
On the pitch Van Basten lets his feet do the talking. Off the pitch he will have to use his head and tongue more skilfully.
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