Diego Simeone isn’t the most difficult football manager to wind up but Arne Slot’s reaction spoke volumes.

The Atletico Madrid boss got physical with his Dutch counterpart after Feyenoord beat them in a 2021 friendly, shoving Slot in the chest and launching a verbal volley.

Slot’s Stone Island gear suggested he might have been up for a scrap but instead he just stood his ground and smiled mockingly at Simeone, who backed down.

It was the sign of a man who doesn’t shy away from a challenge.

Feyenoord’s coach is ruthlessly ambitious and a control freak who demands total control at a club. But he also has emotional intelligence, knows how to create a team ethic and plays attractive football.

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot has emerged as Liverpool's favoured candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp - with talks between the two clubs underway

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot has emerged as Liverpool's favoured candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp - with talks between the two clubs underway

Feyenoord coach Arne Slot has emerged as Liverpool’s favoured candidate to succeed Jurgen Klopp – with talks between the two clubs underway

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone tried to pick a fight with Slot after a friendly in 2021

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone tried to pick a fight with Slot after a friendly in 2021

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone tried to pick a fight with Slot after a friendly in 2021

In response to being shoved, the Stone Island-wearing Slot just smiled back at Simeone

In response to being shoved, the Stone Island-wearing Slot just smiled back at Simeone

In response to being shoved, the Stone Island-wearing Slot just smiled back at Simeone

So there are reasons both for and against his suitability for the unenviable task of succeeding Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

Slot, 45, who has just backed up last season’s Eredivisie title win by delivering the KNVB Cup to Rotterdam, has emerged as a strong contender for the Anfield gig.

Indeed, on Wednesday morning it emerged talks have already begun between Liverpool and Feyenoord with the compensation fee set at £8.5million. 

On the face of it, Slot’s 4-3-3 formation, intensity of pressing and high energy attacking bears many resemblances to Klopp’s ‘heavy metal’ (Slot is more into his rap music).

But the Liverpool vacancy requires so much more that just a good tactician.

For nine years, Klopp has carried not only a club but at times a city defiant in its own identity and independence.

That emotional burden has ultimately caught up with him but not before he won the biggest honours in the game.

Liverpool’s new manager must not only perform in Klopp’s lingering shadow but somehow keep up his boundless energy and forge the same bonds with a demanding fanbase and players that aren’t his own.

The experiences of David Moyes and Unai Emery, after Sir Alex Ferguson at Manchester United and Arsene Wenger at Arsenal, have shown just how difficult it is to follow a manager of legendary stature.

Succeeding the immensely popular Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is an unenviable challenge

Succeeding the immensely popular Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is an unenviable challenge

Succeeding the immensely popular Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool is an unenviable challenge

Slot delivered the Eredivisie league title to Feyenoord last season, their first since 2017

Slot delivered the Eredivisie league title to Feyenoord last season, their first since 2017

Slot delivered the Eredivisie league title to Feyenoord last season, their first since 2017

Some would say the man who follows Klopp is on a similar hiding to nothing even if Liverpool fans would surely be sympathetic and patient if there was regression next season.

Like Klopp, Slot had a respectable but hardly spectacular playing career at the likes of FC Zwolle and NAC Breda rather than Ajax or Feyenoord.

But when it comes to coaching, Slot sees no reason to curb his ambitions, even if it has rubbed people up the wrong way.

AZ Alkmaar abruptly sacked him in December 2020 because owner Robert Eenhoorn learned he’d attended a clandestine meeting with Feyenoord and agreed to replace Dick Advocaat.

Even as he wins trophies at Feyenoord, Slot has been unafraid to speak about his personal career trajectory.

‘My next step will not be a club in Holland,’ he said in 2023. ‘If that is my next step, then I’ve failed completely.

‘The normal next step will be to go abroad and I’ve always said the best league in the world is the Premier League.’

The Premier League has fluttered its eyelashes back across the North Sea. Crystal Palace were interested and Leeds made Slot their first-choice replacement for Jesse Marsch in February 2023 – though negotiations didn’t get going.

Tottenham Hotspur thought they’d persuaded him to become their manager in May 2023 before Slot surprisingly decided to stay at Feyenoord and Daniel Levy turned to Ange Postecoglou.

Slot favours attacking, high-energy football - something that would win him favour at Anfield

Slot favours attacking, high-energy football - something that would win him favour at Anfield

Slot favours attacking, high-energy football – something that would win him favour at Anfield 

But Slot has been able to take control of all aspects of running Feyenoord, which wouldn't be possible at Liverpool

But Slot has been able to take control of all aspects of running Feyenoord, which wouldn't be possible at Liverpool

But Slot has been able to take control of all aspects of running Feyenoord, which wouldn’t be possible at Liverpool  

Given that Slot demands a significant degree of control over all aspects of the club’s operations, you wonder how that would have worked with Levy.

There was friction when he came in at Feyenoord, with a number of scouts and recruitment specialists leaving the club because of how Slot wanted them to work.

He certainly wouldn’t get that control at Anfield, though it’s only right he has a big say over recruitment to evolve Liverpool in his image post-Klopp.

The other big unknown is how Slot would handle the intense scrutiny that would come with the Liverpool job – especially if things are going wrong.

While the Dutch media and fans aren’t known for holding back in their forthright opinions, Liverpool with their global fame are several levels above Feyenoord in the pressure stakes.

His time at De Kuip has been predominantly successful – he took them to the inaugural Europa Conference League final, where they lost to Jose Mourinho’s Roma, then won a first league title since 2017.

Feyenoord celebrate winning the Dutch Cup after they beat NEC Nijmegen last weekend

Feyenoord celebrate winning the Dutch Cup after they beat NEC Nijmegen last weekend

Feyenoord celebrate winning the Dutch Cup after they beat NEC Nijmegen last weekend

PSV Eindhoven have been superior in the Eredivisie this season but Feyenoord beat NEC last weekend to win the Cup.

But given even a small number of games without a victory can constitute a disaster at Liverpool, Slot hasn’t yet been stress-tested in this way.

Indeed, Bayern Munich reportedly looked at and rejected Slot because he doesn’t yet have that kind of experience.

What he will bring – like Klopp – is relentless positivity. Liverpool fans are already fawning over a video of one of his team talks – delivered in his perfect English – after Feyenoord won 3-2 at Ajax en route to the championship.

Slot would aim to replicate Klopp's passion if he lands the Liverpool gig in the weeks ahead

Slot would aim to replicate Klopp's passion if he lands the Liverpool gig in the weeks ahead

Slot would aim to replicate Klopp’s passion if he lands the Liverpool gig in the weeks ahead

While Slot acknowledged a first victory in Amsterdam for 17 years was a seminal moment, he quickly reminded his players it was ‘only one win’ and the job wasn’t yet done.

You can certainly hear echoes of Klopp in it and his players were duly crowned champions two months later. By the end, it’s apparent his team will run through brick walls for him.

So Slot certainly brings similarities to Klopp in terms of charisma and motivation, as well as outlook on how his teams should play their football.

The great unknown is what happens at Liverpool when such a unique figure as Klopp is taken out of the equation.

What’s clear with Slot, however, is that he certainly wouldn’t shirk the challenge if presented with it.

Read More: World News | Entertainment News | Celeb News
Mail Online

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like

A Look At The Group Who Just Bought The Baltimore Orioles For $1.725 Million

Buying a professional sports franchise is not a cheap endeavor. Team valuations…

Who is Grace Phipps from “Vampire Diaries” and “Falling For Ya”? Everything about baby Grace: Songs, News, Wiki

Who is Grace Phipps? Grace Victoria Phipps Padilla was born on 4…

Justine Simmons

Justine Simmons is an American reality television personality. Justine Simmons has been…

Four Law Enforcement Officers Killed Serving Warrant in North Carolina

Update: WBTV is reporting that the total number of law enforcement officers killed in the…