Slot's players run through walls for him.

9 quotes on Liverpool target Arne Slot: ‘One of the best managers I’ve ever seen’

Feyenoord manager Arne Slot has emerged as the frontrunner to succeed Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool.

It remains up in the air who will sit in Liverpool’s dugout next season. Long-running favourite Xabi Alonso has committed his immediate future to Bayer Leverkusen, while Sporting Lisbon boss Ruben Amorim has been linked more firmly with West Ham in recent days.

Now, well-connected Times journalist Paul Joyce reports that Slot is a “leading candidate” for the Liverpool job this summer. The 45-year-old Dutchman reportedly turned down Tottenham last year but is said to be open to a move to Merseyside.

Want to know a bit more about him? We’ve compiled nine quotes – from players, coaches and journalists to the man himself – to give you an idea about the man who could be at the helm for Liverpool next season.

Destined to be a coach

“Some players you can see are going to be coaches,” Slot’s former NAC Breda team-mate Edwin de Graaf told The Athletic.

“I also played with Alfred Schreuder (the former Ajax manager) and both him and Slot… nobody is surprised now they’re both coaches.

“He would ask the coach why they were using certain tactics. And in the dressing room, he would talk to the group about (for example) a way of pressing or defending. He would ask: ‘Why were we doing it this way? Would it be better to do it this way?’. He would make suggestions to his coaches.

“But he would do it in such a good way. He wouldn’t do it with an attitude: he would ask the coach: ‘What do you think about this?’. He would also very quickly see what the opponents were doing.”

Managers that have rejected the chance to become Liverpool manager (L-R): Didier Deschamps, Xabi Alonso, Jose Mourinho

READ: Seven brilliant (and terrible) managers that have rejected the Liverpool job

Studying Guardiola

“I got the impression Slot was watching FC Barcelona all day and night,” Bert Konterman – technical manager when Slot was playing at PEC – told Dutch daily paper Algemeen Dagblad.

“He was watching the positional play, the way they took on free-kicks. When he arrived at the club the next morning, he was so excited what he had seen!”

A control freak

“I don’t want to compare myself with Pep at all, but he’s a control freak just like me,” Arne Slot himself told Voetbal International.

“If I look at myself, I want to win a match during the week before kick-off. I try to imprint the chosen tactic to my players as much as I can.

“That’s why I can be very frustrated when a referee even makes the slightest mistake to your disadvantage. This can have so much influence while you’re not able to control anything. All preparation can be ruined because of a referee mistake. This can be my biggest frustration!

“Guardiola gives me the ultimate pleasure in football. I’d rather watch Manchester City than any other team in the world, although now I enjoy watching Napoli, Arsenal and Brighton as well.

“I don’t want to compare Feyenoord with City, but we more or less play football according to the same philosophy: 4-3-3, building up from the back, wanting to put pressure on the opponent rather quickly.

“There are quite a few similarities of which I think: can I steal some of this? But I always make sure that it fits with my own players.”

Balance between attack and defence

“You can’t obliviously attack, attack, attack. Dutch managers like Frank de Boer and Peter Bosz were like this – Erik ten Hag wasn’t and Slot isn’t,” Dutch journalist Kevin Van Nunen told TNT Sports when Slot was linked with the Tottenham vacancy last year.

“It’s almost like Dutch coaches matured. Slot is a natural successor to Ten Hag as an exponent of new generation of Dutch managers. When you have a steady defence and all players know what to do, you can go on and play attacking football.

“Definitely Ajax, possibly PSV and maybe even AZ, have better individual players than Feyenoord, but they can’t deliver as a team. One plus one doesn’t always equal two, but at Feyenoord there’s a team that equals 11 and that has been their real strength this season [2022-23].”

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A great manager

“Holland was great for me. I felt like Arne Slot is a great manager. He really got me into my rhythm. He gave me a lot of opportunities to play and I excelled,” Arsenal’s Reiss Nelson told the Colney Carpool podcast.

“It was really cool, like I said we got to the final. It was just the little things with the personal life, not my family around, the Corona situation. So it was a bit tough. But football-wise, it was perfect.”

The best

“For me, he’s the best [manager I’ve worked under]” former Feyenoord winger Oussama Idrissi told Dutch outlet AD.

“He can develop players and make teams play fun football.

“Slot was the best,” Idrissi repeated when it was pointed out he’s also played under the likes of Julen Lopetegui, Herve Renard and Erik ten Hag.

“He is one of the best managers I’ve ever seen,” said former Brighton forward Alireza Jahanbakhsh, who currently plays under Slot at Feyenoord.

“In football terms, even the best. At the moment, he is the best in the Netherlands.”

Following in Johan Cruyff’s footsteps

“He’s a really good manager and sometimes it can come fast and quick,” says Dutch football journalist Marcel van der Kraan.

“I’ve followed Feyenoord for 40 years. Not since the days of Johan Cruyff at Ajax in the 1980s has there been a coach so attack-minded in the Dutch league. Cruyff only had a few disciples who followed him and one of them was Pep Guardiola.

“I would say Slot is a Guardiola-style manager based on everything I’ve seen over the past couple of years. The fans of Feyenoord can’t believe what they’ve seen over that time.”

TRY A QUIZ: Can you name the top 20 Dutch goalscorers in Premier League history?

Premier League ambitions

“My next step will not be a club in Holland,” Slot said last year.

“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.”

Admiration for Klopp

“What answer can I give that there will be no headlines about it? So next question,” was Slot’s curt response when asked about the Liverpool vacancy when Klopp announced his decision to step down.

But he found the time to praise the Liverpool manager: “I think it is incredibly impressive that [Klopp] has been so good at that level for so long, with so much energy for nine years.

“I see it as a special achievement that you can maintain that level for nine years with so much dedication and passion. Especially when you consider how many games we play. Let alone how many they play in England.”