Van Basten To Take Ajax Reins

Ajax have named Marco van Basten as their new coach with the former Godenzonen striker set to take over after Euro 2008.

Van Basten is currently in charge of Holland but announced in December he would not be renewing his contract with the Dutch FA (KNVB) following the summer showpiece in Austria and Switzerland.

He has agreed a four-year deal at the Amsterdam Arena which starts on July 1.

Van Basten’s assistants John van’t Schip and Rob Witschge will also move to Ajax in the summer.

The 43-year-old, who had a spell coaching Ajax’s reserves in the 2003/04 season, will take over from Adrie Koster in the hot-seat.

Koster has been in caretaker charge since Henk ten Cate quit the post in October to become part of Avram Grant’s backroom staff at Chelsea.

Ajax technical director Martin van Geel told the club’s official website: “We are delighted with the news.

“They (Van Basten, Van’t Schip and Witschge) are three ambitious coaches with an Ajax pedigree and all three have had an international career as a player and now they also have enough experience as coaches.

“It’s also very good that we have clarity about the technical staff for the coming seasons.”

Van Basten’s agent Perry Overeem said his client was pleased to have returned to a club he served with such distinction as a player.

Overeem said: “We have worked in the last few weeks with the full management of Ajax to come to a successful conclusion.

“Both parties are pleased about how things went and the outcome of it all.

“The duration of the negotiations makes clear the precision and attention to the whole process.”

Van Basten has had a mixed record in charge of the Dutch national side although it is likely he will be judged ultimately by what happens at Euro 2008.

High-profile fall-outs with Clarence Seedorf, Mark van Bommel and Ruud van Nistelrooy, the latter of which has now been resolved, has cast doubt on his ability to deal with big-name players but he can point to the fact the Oranje have qualified for the 2006 World Cup finals and this summer’s European Championships as proof that his methods work.

Holland made an early exit from the World Cup in Germany, however, losing in the first knockout round to Portugal.

And their qualifying route for Euro 2008 was not without its hiccups with Group G defeats to Romania and Belarus and two narrow 1-0 wins over pool minnows Luxembourg.

Under Koster, Ajax are currently second in the Eredivisie, nine points behind defending champions PSV Eindhoven.