The second coming may soon be upon us.
Since Dennis Bergkamp’s retirement in 2006, Arsenal fans have longed for his return. Initially, he disappeared into the football wilderness, turning his back on the game to spend time with his family.
However, the football bug has bitten deep within Bergkamp’s being. He could not last too long away from the beautiful game. After rapidly progressing through the required coaching qualifications, Bergkamp has been assistant manager at Ajax since August 2011.
Now, in an exclusive interview with David Winner of The Telegraph, the Dutchman has revealed that he intends to reappear in North London in the not-too-distant future.
Speaking to publicise the release of his new autobiography, Bergkamp said:
The feeling Johan Cruyff has had for Barcelona, I have the same with Arsenal. 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.
The fans would welcome Bergkamp back with open arms.
If there is one criticism that can be levelled at Arsene Wenger, it might be that he has let too many influential figures leave the club.
He has been famously ruthless with players over the age of 30, allowing their contracts to expire or selling them on in the hope of profit. He is also very reticent to freshen up his coaching staff. The likes of Patrick Vieira have been forced to take up posts elsewhere in the Premier League, much to the chagrin of Arsenal fans.
However, the signs are that Wenger’s policy is changing.
Former Gunner Steve Bould has been appointed as his assistant manager, and the likes of Jens Lehmann and Sol Campbell have been spotted putting youth team players through their paces at the training ground. Even Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires have been handed ambassadorial roles. Wenger is finally making use of the dynastic diversity of talent that has come through the club.
Of all Wenger's former charges, Bergkamp is the one making most waves in the coaching world.
Bergkamp’s aversion to flying means he is never likely to be the man at the helm of a major European club. However, his wisdom would be invaluable on the training pitch. The non-flying Dutchman says:
I don’t see myself as a manager. I see myself as being part of the coaching staff. I really enjoy that role, especially the individual training with the strikers.
Bergkamp could doubtless work wonders with the likes of Olivier Giroud, but is there a forthcoming vacancy at Arsenal that may be even more suited to his temperament?
Although Bergkamp insists he intends to be at Ajax for “at least another three or five years,” the Gunners may soon be able to make him an offer that’s too good to refuse.
In May 2014, Liam Brady will step down from his role as the head of Arsenal’s academy. Who better than Bergkamp to further the development of young talent at Arsenal? Like Brady before him, Bergkamp is the embodiment of Arsenal’s footballing philosophy.
In the mid-'90s, Bergkamp inspired a generation of fans with his breathtaking style. Should Arsenal appoint him as their new head of youth development, he could inspire a new generation of footballers.
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