Five things to know about Anfield-linked Arne Slot

AFP , Thursday 25 Apr 2024

Arne Slot, the Feyenoord coach reportedly the subject of talks between the clubs about joining Liverpool, is known as a passionate leader who gets the most out of his player and demands a strong work ethic.

Arne Slot
Feyenoord's Dutch head coach Arne Slot. Photo: AFP

 

A fan of Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola, Slot was a slick forward as a player with a reputation as an accurate passer of the ball -- so much so he has a move named after him.

Here are five key facts about the 45-year-old who could succeed Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

Arne Slot Pass
 

Slot joined PEC Zwolle as a 17-year-old striker known more for his technique than his running.

"Many people thought Arne was lazy and phlegmatic. But that wasn't right. You just shouldn't expect sliding tackles," his former coach Jan Everse told public broadcaster NOS.

But "silky" and "cultured" are words often used to describe his playing style, and PEC Zwolle still employ the "Arne Slot Pass", says former teammate Bram van Polen.

The Arne Slot Pass is a slight deflection from a forward with his back to goal which splits the defence and releases a winger running off the ball.

Dressing room style
 

Liverpool fans looking for clues to their potential future boss's style have started sharing a rousing team talk he gave Feyenoord players after a historic victory at Ajax.

"The reason why we are where we are today is because you work your ass off every single day. And that's the reason you could beat this team in their own stadium, without even our fans being here," he told the dressing room.

"But it's only a win. It's a big win, but we have a bigger goal this season than winning for the first time in 17 years in Amsterdam," Slot said to cheers from the team.

Spurs links
 

The interest from Liverpool is not the first time Slot has attracted Premier League clubs. He was heavily linked with Tottenham during their troubled search to replace Antonio Conte in May 2023.

As Spurs were reportedly about to seal the deal, Slot abruptly walked out, signing a new contract instead with Rotterdam-based Feyenoord.

"The decisive factor was playing in the Champions League... the fact that I am having a great time privately and being able to build on the past two seasons," said Slot at the time.

Feyenoord's Champions League campaign got off to a strong start with a 2-0 home win against Celtic, but two defeats against Atletico Madrid sealed their fate, and they finished third in Group E.

Guardiola fan
 

The British press have already dubbed Slot the "Dutch Pep Guardiola" for the high-pressing attacking style much beloved by Feyenoord fans.

Slot certainly admires the legendary Spanish coach of Manchester City, who would be among his top rivals if he did join Liverpool.

In several interviews, he has cited Guardiola as his role model, telling the Algemeene Dagblad (AD) last year: "Players always look very good under him. And the same players seem worse with managers before and after him."

Run, run, run
 

As a coach, Slot is known for a fierce work ethic, driving to Feyenoord's camp before dawn, watching every training session, and obsessively studying future opponents.

"I say to Feyenoord: you have to ensure that you create four times as many chances as your opponent and work twice as hard," Slot told the AD.

"In all the matches that we have won this season, we see in the data that we have run 20 or 30 percent more than the opposition. Matches we didn't win: only three or six percent more."

"Every training, every meeting must be spot on," he said.

This has led to results on the pitch at Feyenoord, seen as a team with physically fit players who work hard for each other and often score late goals.

Slot appears to have cultivated this work ethic as a manager, rather than when he was a player.

"He wants his boys to be fit... he didn't have that before. I don't know if he has ever seen the inside of a weights room," said former teammate Van Polen.

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