Dennis Bergkamp has confirmed his desire to take up a coaching role with Arsenal.
The Gunners legend—who retired in 2006 after spending 11 years with the club—has publicly admitted that a return to North London could be on the cards after his current stint with Ajax comes to a close.
As reported by David Winner of The Telegraph, the Amsterdam club’s assistant manager looks to have his heart set on a future reunion at the Emirates:
At Arsenal it was a good click. I always enjoyed it. I never had a bad day there. It is always on my mind. It is part of my ambition to come back at some stage. [...]
I see myself as being part of the coaching staff. I really enjoy that role, especially the individual training with the strikers.
I’ve spoken to or have heard about others [former Arsenal colleagues] who would also love to come back.
These quotes will be music to the ears of a club that currently sit atop the Premier League.
Arsene Wenger’s team haven’t won a trophy since the 2005 FA Cup Final, a match in which Bergkamp appeared. The iconic Dutchman was also part of the 2003/04 "Invincibles" team and played a huge part in the club’s prolonged success during Wenger’s first decade in charge.
Bergkamp scored 120 goals in 453 appearances for the club and is immortalised with a statue outside the Emirates Stadium.
Most memorably, Bergkamp's goal against Newcastle in the 2002 FA Cup quarter-final highlights the hallmarks of a player who verged on genius throughout his career. With a quick twist and slotted finish, the classy forward sent Arsenal on their way to glory at the Millennium Stadium showpiece.
The release of Bergkamp’s autobiography, Stillness and Speed, scuppered chances of the 44-year-old taking over as Gunners manager one day in the future. As reported by David Kent of the Daily Mail, Bergkamp’s famous fear of flying continues to cripple his ability to travel across Europe.
I've flown countless times in large planes, small ones, tiny ones. At Ajax, I once flew in a minuscule plane over Mount Etna near Naples when we got into a terrible air pocket—in terms of flying, I've seen and done it all and I'm simply not flying again. Ever.
While this realisation should be nothing new to Arsenal fans, it severely hampers Bergkamp’s ability to oversee the side in years to come. He is limited to an assistant coaching role and would face difficult decisions when Arsenal are forced to travel on Champions League away days.
Is Bergkamp the greatest player to play for Arsenal?
Even so, the news of Bergkamp’s interest should be enough to round off an excellent few weeks for Wenger’s men. Currently amidst an unbeaten run that stretches back to the Premier League’s opening day, and with former heroes sighting a return, life is good at the Emirates.
Bergkamp's potential arrival would particularly help Olivier Giroud, who has started the season in excellent scoring form. Like Giroud, Bergkamp was never able to rely on pace and had to use swiftness of thought to outwit defenders.
Currently Giroud is a goalscorer, boasting exceptional movement around the box, but Bergkamp would potentially enhance the Frenchman's ability to see team-mates and bring other players into Arsenal's attack.