Ajax are expected to raid Arsenal and hire Mikel Arteta’s assistant Albert Stuivenberg as their new manager.
Following a 4-3 loss to Utrecht the day before, the Dutch giants fired Maurice Steijn on Monday. The setback left Ajax in the Eredivisie relegation zone with only five points, 22 points behind leaders PSV Eindhoven.
During Erik ten Hag’s tenure as manager, Ajax dominated the Eredivisie, winning three straight titles. Yet, since he left for Manchester United in May 2022, they’ve struggled, finishing third last season… and things have now gone from bad to unthinkably worse.
Ajax is in desperate need of a manager and has turned to former manager Louis van Gaal for assistance. The famous manager has joined the four-time European winners as an advisor and is eager to endorse Stuivenberg to the board.
According to Algemeen Dagblad, Van Gaal is a fan of Stuivenberg and believes he could implement an attacking style of play at Ajax. The 53-year-old coach joined Arsenal’s coaching staff when Arteta was appointed as manager in December 2019.
Stuivenberg has been a coach for more than three decades and worked with some of the game’s greatest players, including Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Gareth Bale. He was one of Van Gaal’s assistants at Old Trafford between 2014 and 2016.
“We always worked together well at the Dutch FA, when Louis was Netherlands manager and I was the U21 coach,” Stuivenberg told De Telegraaf in 2017. “From there, he put his trust in me and took me with him to Manchester. I see that as a great compliment.
“Van Gaal is someone who has earned his marks in football and he can judge whether you have the skills or not… Louis gave me the opportunity to develop myself at the top level.”
The Dutchman became Genk’s manager in December 2016 but was fired by the Belgian club 12 months later for failing to win silverware. He joined Wales’ coaching staff the following year and helped them qualify for Euro 2020 before departing in July 2021.
Stuivenberg has experience of managing in the Premier League after taking charge of Arsenal’s 2-1 defeat to Manchester City in January 2022 when Arteta contracted Covid. The Gunners boss will not want to lose an important member of his backroom staff.
“I met (Stuivenberg) a few years ago through another coach,” said Arteta in January 2022. “Obviously he’s a coach that I knew before because of his reputation and who he’s been working under before. We had a really good connection.
“We have the same belief, we see the game in the same way, we share all of the values that we believe have to be installed at the club. He’s someone who is very close to me and he’s more than capable (of managing). He’s done it before.”