Manchester United will be on red alert after Marc Overmars revealed he is ready for a new challenge alongside his Ajax boss Edwin van der Sar.
United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has spent three years searching for someone with the right football expertise to overhaul an Old Trafford transfer model that is unfit for purpose.
Ajax director of football Overmars fits the bill after building a recruitment and youth system in Holland that is the envy of the world.
And the Dutchman has now dropped a tantalising hint that is sure to interest the Glazer family who own United.
Former Arsenal winger Overmars, 47, said: “When I was appointed in this job at Ajax I knew I only wanted to stay for three or four years maximum.
“I have been here eight seasons now! For me – but just as much for Edwin – it is sure that we are not going to carry on here until we are 60.
“This job at Ajax is costing too much energy. The whole of the Netherlands is constantly on my back and has an opinion about us. The job has brought a lot of great things too. Edwin and I are proud that we have brought Ajax back where it should be in Europe.”
United have not won the Premier League in the seven years since Sir Alex Ferguson retired – despite spending almost £1billion on new players.
David Moyes, Louis van Gaal and Jose Mourinho have all been sacked and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is now under pressure after a poor start to the season.
Many United fans believe Woodward and chief transfer negotiator Matt Judge should carry the can after a summer in which they failed to deliver top target Jadon Sancho.
The pair are close friends and their relationship helped Donny van de Beek join United in the summer from Ajax for £36million.
Van der Sar has been touted for a possible return to Old Trafford as the director of football his old club are looking for. But Overmars heads recruitment in Amsterdam, while Van der Sar operates at boardroom level. And the Dutch duo come as a package.
Overmars said: “We have a special bond. The best thing is that we enjoyed the great 1990s as players together.
“At the time you don’t realise how special that is. Now, 25 years later, we have achieved the same things at management level that we achieved as players.
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer may have missed out on Jadon Sancho in the summer, but he still made some big moves in the transfer market with Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and Edinson Cavani all arriving.
But their start to the season has been a mixed bag, with a home defeat to Crystal Palace and a 6-1 thrashing by Spurs at one end of the scale, and a tremendous 2-1 win over PSG in Paris at the other.
“We had one shared ambition – we wanted Ajax to reach a European final. Which one did not matter. We managed that in 2017, and now we want more.
“We want to win the Champions League or Europa League.”
It was Dutch legend Johan Cruyff who reunited Overmars and Van der Sar at Ajax.
The pair played in the Amsterdam club’s 1995 Champions League triumph.
Overmars went on to play for Arsenal and Barcelona, while Van der Sar finished his career at United after spells with Juventus and Fulham. Cruyff wanted to put Ajax’s future in the hands of two football specialists – something that’s been missing at Old Trafford.
Ajax currently have almost £250m in the bank after cashing in on stars including Frenkie de Jong, Matthijs de Ligt, Davinson Sanchez, Hakim Ziyech and Van de Beek.
But despite the big-money sales they are once again a dominant force both at home and abroad.
Ajax sit top of the Eredivisie as reigning champions and reached the final of the Europa League in 2017 and the Champions League semi-finals two years later.
The club remains committed to identifying and developing their own talent rather than spending big sums in the transfer market.
That would certainly appeal to United’s owners after the club’s debts rocketed back towards £500m in the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic.
Woodward is regarded as bullet proof at Old Trafford after continuing to build the club commercially for the Glazers despite some lacklustre results on the pitch.
But when it comes to what United need as a football club, Van der Sar and Overmars tick a lot of boxes.