Speculation is mounting about the future of Feyenoord head coach Arie Slot after he declined to rule out a move in the wake of the Rotterdam club’s championship season.
Slot, 44, is widely reported to be at the top of English Premiership club Tottenham Hotspur’s list of candidates to take over the manager’s job, which has been vacant since Antonio Conte in March.
Slot has impressed during his two and a half years at De Kuip, leading the club to its first Eredivisie title for six years despite having to build a squad on a tight budget due to Feyenoord’s financial problems.
He also reached the final of the UEFA Conference League last season, losing to Jose Mourinho’s AS Roma, and lost to the same opposition in the semi-finals of the Europa League this season.
Slot’s agent, Rafaele Pimenta, is understood to be meeting Feyenoord’s management this week to discuss an offer from Tottenham, with the coach himself said to be in favour of the move.
Officially he has kept tight-lipped about the situation, telling reporters before last weekend’s league match at Emmen: “The fact is I am under contract for two years.”
Sacked by AZ
But he also appears to have learned the lesson from his last coaching post at AZ Alkmaar, who sacked Slot in December 2020 after learning he was in advanced talks to take over at Feyenoord. Days later Slot was confirmed as the successor to veteran coach Dick Advocaat, who had been appointed on an interim basis.
“The fact I’m saying so little about this is partly to do with the way my departure from AZ was reported in various media,” Slot said this week.
One of the issues likely to be on the table is compensation, with Feyenoord set to demand around £6 bn (€6.9 bn) if Slot breaks his contract to move to London.
Despite being the highest-paid coach in the Eredivisie, Slot could expect to multiply his current salary of €2 mln at White Hart Lane. He will also have a much larger budget for new players.
Feyenoord spent €35.9 mln on players last summer, with Mexican striker Santiago Gimenez, midfielder Mats Wieffer and Brazilian winger Igor Paixão all playing key roles in the championship-winning squad.
Loan signings have also been significant, including German goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther from Anderlecht and Sevilla’s Moroccan-Dutch winger Oussama Idrissi. The club covered their costs by selling €69 mln worth of players, three of whom moved to English Premiership clubs for a combined €55 mln.
Tottenham, meanwhile, spent €178 mln in the transfer market ahead of the current league season, including €58 mln for Brazilian forward Richarlison from Everton and €50 mln for Argentinian defender Cristian Romero.
Staff staying put
Slot also made an impact during his brief stint coaching AZ, who were level on points with Ajax at the top of the league when the 2019/20 season was cut short by coronavirus. In Alkmaar he brought on Dutch international players such as Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal.
One sticking point is that the coach’s backroom staff in Rotterdam are unwilling to make the journey to London. Club director Dennis Te Kloese said at the weekend he had turned down an offer to move to White Hart Lane as technical director, while assistant coach John de Wolf said his loyalty to Feyenoord was too strong.
“I’m not leaving Feyenoord because it’s my club,” said the former defender. “I’m at home here, this is my home.”
Slot himself fuelled the speculation when he told Sky Sports at the weekend that he saw the English league as the logical “next step” in his career.
He said: “I think the next step will not be another club in Holland. If that is the next step, I will have failed completely in the upcoming few years.
“So the normal next step would be to go abroad and I’ve always said the Premier League is the best in the world.”
Arne Slot’s representative Rafaele Pimenta is set to meet with Feyenoord this week to discuss his future amid interest from Tottenham ✍️ pic.twitter.com/eabcUzEtRs
— Sky Sports News (@SkySportsNews) May 22, 2023
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