Frank de Boer’s next managerial role could be his most important to date. Can a sleeping Scottish giant provide him with the redemption he craves?

  • By Andy MacKay
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Jose Mourinho recently labelled Frank de Boer the “worst manager in Premier League history” in textbook Special One style (or lack of) and there’s no question the Dutch legend’s managerial stock is at an all-time low.

One team who de Boer has been consistently linked with throughout his time off is one of his former clubs, Rangers FC. The Glasgow giants have endured a miserable few years and the rebuilding of such an institution will require a top managerial name. But can he, or will he, take the job if offered? He has a big decision to make on his next destination and, make no mistake, his once-stellar reputation is on the line.

The current incumbent in the Ibrox hot seat, former Academy Under 20’s coach Graeme Murty, is widely not expected to continue next season and the hunt for a new boss is definitely on. The latest name added to the list of potential candidates is Graham Potter, the English manager of Swedish sensations Ostersunds FK, who’s been installed as the bookies’ favourite for the post. Despite this, the rumours pencilling Frank de Boer’s name into the equation just will not go away.

The Oranje’s record caps-holder is now second favourite amongst many of the bookmakers and, as a former player who’s out of work at the moment, it makes sense his name is mentioned. But is this the right club at the right time for de Boer? Or another disaster waiting to happen? Here are a few reasons de Boer should at least consider the gig.

Rangers have gone Dutch in the past…and it worked

When Dick Advocaat joined the club at the end of the 90’s Rangers were determined to do a number on their bitter rivals Celtic. The Little General moulded a squad which played some quite sensational football, at home and on the continent (the 4-1 mauling of Ruud van Nistelrooy’s PSV at Ibrox springs to mind). The difference? Advocaat was backed to the hilt in the transfer market, bringing top Dutch talent like Arthur Numan, Fernando Ricksen and Giovanni van Bronckhorst, among others, to the club for millions of pounds, something Rangers fans can only dream of at the present time. This would definitely be a budget remake of the Advocaat project, but one de Boer shouldn’t fear too much because…

Rangers have some of the best academy and training facilities in Europe.

In Murray Park, the training and youth complex on the outskirts of Glasgow, Rangers have the facilities and youth players that de Boer can really get his teeth into. With Rangers taking a year-long sabbatical from the domestic youth league, the youngsters are going toe to toe with the giants of the continent…and winning, the latest triumph being a 6-0 trouncing of Leicester City’s youths. They’ve even won away at Bayern Munich this year so the future’s definitely bright. Surely a top developer of talent such as de Boer couldn’t help but be excited at the chance to mould these guys into first team stalwarts. At Ajax, there was a definite path to the first team and when a star man was sold, there was a youth team guy chomping at the bit to take his place in the First XI (think Alderweireld replacing Vertonghen replacing Vermaelen if you need a flow chart on this).

His backroom and scouting appointments could also provide the revolution Rangers are craving. And while de Toekomst Murray Park ain’t – if they give him the time he needs, Frank de Boer could be the guy to stop Celtic’s march to 10-in-a-row and, in the process, carve his name into the hearts and minds of every single Rangers supporter. Another point is that…

Rangers might not be swimming in cash, but they’re not exactly paupers either.

The reported £8m splurged on the squad last summer by previous manager Pedro Caixinha shows that the board are willing to back their man in the market and, while it ended in dire failure, the man to make their money go further is surely de Boer. With a Director of Football, former Man City youth supremo Mark Allen, now in place the combination could prove potent. When de Boer has dipped his toe in the market, rather than de Toekomst, he’s shown great financial nous picking up guys like Arkadiusz Milik, Amin Younes and Kasper Dolberg for peanuts and turning them into big-time, big-money players. And finally…

He knows the club well.

Yes, he spent just six months playing at Rangers alongside twin brother Ronald towards the tail-end of their careers but, like many other foreign imports, he knows just how passionate the Ibrox support can be. He’s even been quoted as saying he would be keen on managing the club one day. Appointing Ronald as part of his backroom team could be a smart move as he’s a club legend who knows the place inside out.

In summary, Rangers would be mugs not to consider Frank de Boer as one of, if the not the most, viable options they have on the table. His time at Ajax still marks him out as one of the best young coaches in Europe and Rangers are similar in stature to Ajax, in terms of the size of the club and fan expectation. If further convincing be what ye require Rangers supporters, then consider this – his four league titles in a row at Ajax is something that club legends Johan Cruyff or Rinus Michels themselves couldn’t even accomplish. While he may not have survived swimming in the shark-infested piranha tanks that are Serie A and the Premier League, a trip up to Bonnie Scotland could just be the resurrection of Franciscus de Boer.

Andy MacKay (1 Posts)