Liverpool reach agreement with Feyenoord to make Arne Slot their new manager

DEVENTER, NETHERLANDS - APRIL 25: head coach Arne Slot of Feyenoord looks on after the Dutch Eredivisie match between Go Ahead Eagles and Feyenoord at De Adelaarshorst on April 25, 2024 in Deventer, Netherlands. (Photo by Marcel ter Bals/DeFodi Images via Getty Images)
Arne Slot of Feyenoord is set to become Jurgen Klopp's replacement as Liverpool manager -Credit:Marcel ter Bals/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Liverpool have reached an agreement with Feyenoord for Arne Slot to replace Jurgen Klopp as manager.

The Reds have been on the managerial lookout for a number of months having been informed by Klopp as far back as November that he would be stepping down from his post at the end of this season after nearly nine years in charge.

Owners Fenway Sports Group looked to restructure the power axis at the top of the club before an exhaustive search for Klopp’s replacement began. Michael Edwards was confirmed as FSG’s 'CEO of football' last month before Richard Hughes of Bournemouth was appointed as sporting director, a role which officially starts from June 1.

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Since those positions were recruited for, Liverpool have stepped up their efforts to find a successor to Klopp, whose wildly successful stint at Anfield will end with him having won the Premier League, Champions League, Club World Cup, FA Cup and two League Cups in 2022 and 2024.

After poring over the merits of several during an exhaustive data-led search process, it is Feyenoord boss Slot who emerged as front runner with Liverpool entering into negotiations for the 45-year-old earlier this week.

Analysis conducted by Edwards and the club's director of research, Will Spearman, have found Slot's aggressive playing style to closest resemble the Reds' under Klopp, meaning there won't be too much upheaval for a playing staff operating under a new manager for the first time in close to a decade later this year.

Slot’s contract does not contain a release clause meaning Liverpool have been made to hold intensive talks with the Eredivisie side in recent days to agree on a fee and an initial offer of around £7.7m was rebuffed with the Dutch club holding out for closer to somewhere between £10-12m.

The final compensation agreement could be worth up to £9.4m (€11m) for Feyenoord. It will make Slot one of the most expensive managerial recruits in European football history, with the record currently believed to stand at £21m, which Bayern Munich paid RB Leipzig to land Julian Nagelsmann in 2021.

Sporting CP manager Rúben Amorim had come under consideration after Bayer Leverkusen boss Xabi Alonso publicly made clear his intentions to stay with the newly-crowned Bundesliga champions in March but suggestions the Portuguese coach was offered a three-year deal have been firmly rebuffed by Anfield sources.

Instead, it is Slot who is set to be appointed as the man to succeed the hugely popular Klopp after the Reds were able to reach an agreement following an intense few days at the negotiating table.

Slot has been at De Kuip for three seasons and won the Eredivise title last term before picking up a KNVB Beker (Dutch Cup) last week. The Dutchman also guided his team to the 2022 Europa Conference final where they were beaten by Jose Mourinho’s Roma.

Slot has been frank about his desire to see Liverpool and Feyenoord reach an agreement over his release, speaking freely on the subject before and after his team’s 3-1 win over Go Ahead Eagles on Thursday.

“I have the impression that a good offer has already been made," Slot said in his post-match press conference. "And it seems that Feyenoord is already going to make the highest-paid Dutch transfer fee for a coach.

"And somewhere I still have the idea that I have performed so well in recent years, earning [the club] so much that Feyenoord is thinking along those lines.

"I don't think 'wish' is the right word when you know the amounts involved. Wishing is when you have a clause in your contract and that's the maximum they are willing to pay.

“Then you can talk about wishing, now it's just hard bargaining, which is everyone's right. But I absolutely believe they will reach an agreement."

Liverpool have a good relationship with Slot's agent, Rafaela Pimenta, the Brazilian lawyer who also looks after the interests of Manchester City striker Erling Haaland among others. Pimenta was a guest at Anfield for a Premier League game last season and personal terms will not be an issue on the contract that can now be formally offered to Slot.

The former AZ Alkmaar boss may also be keen to bring in his own backroom staff with him with assistants Pep Lijnders, Peter Krawietz and elite-development coach Vitor Matos all set to move on with Klopp.

There have been suggestions Sipke Hulshoff and John de Wolf, Slot’s current right-hand men, could move to Merseyside to form part of the new manager’s team.

The imminent appointment will complete a major renovation of the operation at Anfield with Bournemouth’s chief scout Mark Burchill set to move with new sporting director Hughes later this year, while former loan pathways manager David Woodfine is also poised to rejoin as assistant.

Edwards, whose own decorated tenure as sporting director ended in 2022, is now ready to effectively replace FSG president Mike Gordon as the day-day-day head of the football club.

Speaking in his Friday press conference, Klopp said of the club's pursuit of his successor: "I like a lot about it, if he is the one, he wants to take the job. Really. Is desperate. 'Come on, let’s go for it. Excited'.

“I like the way his team play football. All the things I hear about him as a guy, a good guy. Some people I know know him, I don’t know him yet.

“Some people tell me that he is a really good guy. I like that a lot. Good coach, good guy. Looking forward for the club if he is the solution or the man. I’m more than happy. It’s not up to me to judge these things but it all sounds really good to me.”