Netherlands coach Louis van Gaal, who has emerged as the front-runner for the Manchester United job after the sacking of David Moyes, is believed to be attracting interest from Arsenal.
Arsenal are confident Arsene Wenger will sign a new three-year deal but the the Gunners are still waiting for the 64-year-old to commit his future beyond the end of this season when his current contract runs out.
Van Gaal is said to be keeping his options open with the Premier League champions dismissing reports that the former Ajax, Barcelona and Bayern Munich manager has already held talks with chief executive Ed Woodward.
The 62-year-old is believed to be awaiting developments at his home in Portugal following Moyes’ sacking but reports in the Netherlands today claim that the national team coach could end up at Arsenal next season following the appointment of Andries Jonker the new head of the club’s academy before the 2014-15 season.
51-year-old Jonker has strong links with Van Gaal as part of his backroom staff at Barcelona and Bayern Munich, before he joined Wolfsburg in 2012 after a spell as interim head coach at the Allianz Arena.
The arrival of Jonker this summer is seen as an indication that Van Gaal will join Arsenal but the sudden availability of the Manchester United job has complicated matters. Jonker has spent a significant part of his career alongside Van Gaal. The pair share a belief in nurturing young talent and playing an attractive brand of football.
Van Gaal is understood to have secured an agreement with Tottenham for the Dutchman to replace Tim Sherwood at the end of the season but he is now considering his options following interest from Manchester United and Arsenal. His compatriot Robin van Persie is keen for United to appoint the Oranje coach to replace Moyes.
Jonker, the current assistant manager at Bundesliga side Wolfsburg, has previously spent seven years developing and implementing youth coaching reforms for the KNVB (Dutch FA) and has also managed the Under-15 and Under-21 national teams. Jonker’s appointment at Arsenal follows Liam Brady's decision to leave his role of head of youth development.
Fellow Dutchmen Frans de Kat and Jan van Loon will manage the under-18s and the under-16s respectively as Arsenal re-organise their youth coaching set-up from the beginning of July.
De Kat has held positions at Dutch clubs Willem II Tilburg and ADO Den Haag. He was also a coach at both under-15 and under-16 levels with the KNVB. Van Loon also joins Arsenal from the KNVB where he is currently a coach for his country’s national youth teams. He has also worked at Willem II Tilburg and PSV Eindhoven in the Netherlands.
Arsenal great Brady, 58, established their academy as one of the finest in world football since his appointment in July 1996.