Retaining Arne Slot fits into positive dynamic around Feyenoord
Things can change. Two seasons ago, Feyenoord saw its then best player and captain Steven Berghuis leave for big rival Ajax. Now a different wind is blowing in Rotterdam. The brand new national champion has succeeded in retaining coveted success coach Arne Slot for the club.
Tottenham Hotspur may have firmly rattled the purse strings from the Premier League, but Slot remains loyal to Feyenoord, to the relief of the Legion. His decision fits into the dynamic that has emerged around the always noisy grassroots club over the past season. With coach Arne Slot and general manager Dennis te Kloese at the proverbial buck, Feyenoord radiates positivism. A metamorphosis that demands explanation.
Slot worth his weight in gold
First, the coach himself. Slot has only been on Rotterdam’s staff for two seasons, but by reaching the Conference League final in 2022 and then capturing the first national title in six seasons, he has immediately made himself immortal on the River Maas.
He made Orkun Kökçü his most important player and extension on the pitch, forging an eleven full of newcomers into the most consistent team and the deserved champion of the Netherlands.
“Especially his clarity stands out with Slot,” said soccer coach Danny Buijs, who was allowed to spend a week with Slot at Feyenoord earlier this season.
“He can convey everything very well to the players and the rest of the staff. The players are willing to put a lot of energy and intensity into matches and I see a lot of enjoyment in the game. They appreciate Slot and know where they stand. As the person with final responsibility, he allows everyone to function optimally.”
Feyenoord was keen to keep Slot on board. “They made him a greatly improved offer in appreciation of success,” said Dennis van Eersel, Radio Rijnmond reporter and Feyenoord watcher.
“But also as a signal to foreign interest. Slot’s contract only states that a club can take him over after next season for more than five million euros in converted terms. It says nothing about now. Presumably it is about double and then Slot also wants to take assistant Marino Pusic with him. An amount of ten million is apparently too much for Tottenham now.”
Slot forms a powerful tandem with Dennis te Kloese, employed at Feyenoord as general manager since January 2022. No doubt in the talks, Te Kloese will have pointed out to Slot that, from a European point of view, he is in a better place in Rotterdam than in London, where Spurs are not even assured of the Conference League playoffs yet.
That is by no means a group stage Champions League, where Feyenoord will be acting next season. And possibly also in the 2024/25 season, when the number one and two from the premier league are admitted directly to the Valhalla of European club soccer.
Feyenoord has a good story athletically. With the millions to be earned in the Champions League, investments seem possible. The Rotterdammers have already acquired Ramiz Zerrouki from FC Twente for eight million, a hefty sum by Feyenoord standards.
Slot will realize that the club can now move on and he does not have to make a muddle with Feyenoord in the Champions League: Feyenoord is simply a better option for him at the moment than Tottenham, with the possibility that later on clubs from the upper echelon of the Champions League will be interested in Slot if another good season arrives.
‘Who will pay for the renovation of De Kuip?’
One of the first things Te Kloese did after his arrival was to bring clarity to De Kuip’s new construction file: no new stadium, but cherish the iconic stronghold, to the satisfaction of the supporters.
But that does not mean the general manager is there yet. “The stadium and the club are separate worlds,” says Van Eersel. “The Kuip needs to be renovated, but who is going to pay for that? Stadion Feijenoord does not have that money and will undoubtedly knock on Feyenoord’s door if the contract needs to be renewed soon. Te Kloese has to do something with that. And then he also has a challenge in setting up the technical structure. They are still looking for a technical manager. That’s quite a lot on one man’s plate.”
At least Feyenoord has successfully cleared the first hurdle.