Ajax manager Frank de Boer has lifted the lid on the past rumours of his potential Amsterdam exit by declaring that he would have quit the Dutch champions in favour of joining Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur had he been offered the opportunity.
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The Dutch legend had been heavily linked with the White Hart Lane hot seat earlier this year as reports concerning former Tottenham boss Tim Sherwood had rightly suggested that the north London club were on the lookout for a new permanent manager.
De Boer’s regular outbursts, particularly after Ajax’s premature Europa League exit to Red Bull Salzburg, only further fuelled the speculation that he would make his Amsterdam Arena exit and even brother Ronald suggested, via talkSPORT, that the 44-year-old was ready to leave the Eredivisie in search of a new challenge.
Nevertheless, De Boer’s Ajax continued to dominate Dutch football on the pitch and recorded a club- record fourth successive Eredivisie crown. However, they did miss out on the double thanks to a humiliating 5-1 KNVB Cup final defeat to PEC Zwolle—a match that was infamously marred by crowd trouble, as per Richard Arrowsmith of the Daily Mail.
De Boer is now preparing to guide his team towards a fifth straight domestic crown but, according to Richard Parry of the Evening Standard, he has revealed that he was approached by Daniel Levy about the Tottenham job, which was eventually awarded to former Southampton boss Mauricio Pochettino.
The Ajax boss told Dutch outlet Amstel Television 5, via Parry:
If they wanted me, I would probably have said 'yes.' I was really close to a move to Tottenham, but they chose Pochettino. It's the same in a corporate company. Eventually the board will vote and they came out with Pochettino.
The news will come as a blow to the Ajax board, fans and players, especially as De Boer remains one of the club’s icons.
De Boer will forever be heralded as one of the greats at Dutch football’s most famous team and they would not begrudge him a move to one of Europe’s elite leagues. However, the timing of his admission is not ideal and it may be hard for players to stay motivated when they know that the manager wants out.
The champions begin their Eredivisie title defence with a home fixture against Vitesse Arnhem on August 10.