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Incoming Liverpool boss Arne Slot found Anfield job offer ‘difficult to ignore’

Arne Slot has been confirmed as Liverpool’s new head coach (Martin Rickett/PA)
Arne Slot has been confirmed as Liverpool’s new head coach (Martin Rickett/PA)

Former Feyenoord coach Arne Slot admitted it was impossible to turn down “one of the biggest clubs in the world” after being confirmed as Jurgen Klopp’s successor at Liverpool.

The PA news agency understands that Slot, who will become the club’s first head coach rather than manager, has signed a three-year contract and will officially take over on June 1, subject to a work permit.

In a departing message to Feyenoord fans on their official website, Slot said: “It is certainly not an easy decision to close the door behind you at a club where you have experienced so many wonderful moments, and worked so successfully with so many wonderful people.

“But as a sportsman, an opportunity to become a head coach in the Premier League, at one of the biggest clubs in the world, is difficult to ignore. I am grateful to Feyenoord for their willingness to cooperate in this transition.”

Liverpool’s exhaustive search identified the 45-year-old as their preferred candidate several weeks ago and his desire to take the job allowed for a swift appointment.

Slot’s move has been an open secret for some time, with Liverpool paying £9.4million compensation to Feyenoord to secure his services and Slot confirmed Anfield was his next destination at his final pre-match press conference at the Eredivisie club on Friday.

Liverpool were keen to move swiftly to replace Klopp with a number of other top European clubs also looking to recruit managers this summer.

Slot was attractive to owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) as they believe he has demonstrated a reputation for over-performance with AZ Alkmaar and Feyenoord, is able to bring the best out of players and has a clear footballing identity, while also adopting a holistic and collegiate approach which fits with their ethos.

His job title of head coach means he fits into the new football structure which has had an overhaul in the last few months with two former sporting directors – Michael Edwards and Julian Ward – returning to the fold as FSG’s chief executive of football and technical director respectively.

New sporting director Richard Hughes has been recruited from Bournemouth and will also officially begin work on June 1.

In his final speech to Anfield, Klopp urged fans to throw their full support behind Slot.

“You welcome the new manager like you welcomed me. You go all-in from the first day. And you keep believing and you push the team,” said Klopp, who sang Slot’s name to the tune of Opus’ Live is Life, one of the songs the crowd had adapted for the German.

Slot joined Feyenoord in 2021, leading them into the inaugural Europa Conference League final the following year, and to their first Eredivisie crown in six years in 2023.

Slot added: “Feyenoord is the club where I was able to celebrate the first major successes in my career as a trainer and where I experienced many great matches, so I cherish those memories.

“And as a football fan, I will certainly continue to follow the club, not least because I am convinced that a lot of great things still lie ahead in Rotterdam. I wish Feyenoord and everyone who cares about this wonderful club all the best for the future.”