Best Dutch Coach Plans Netherlands Raid

Fred Rutten has been voted by his colleagues as the best coach in the Netherlands for the 2007-’08 season, but he will no doubt frustrate some of them should his Schalke transfer plans materialize…

The 45-year-old boss has just ended his second spell with Twente in style, leading them into the European Champions League for the first time in their history. He also helped several footballers, such as Romano Denneboom, Eljero Elia and Youssouf Hersi, reach the peak of their game so far and The Reds played some very attractive football over the past two years.  

Rinus Michels Award

As a result, Rutten was today presented with the prestigious Rinus Michels Award during the national coach congress in Tilburg, getting the nod ahead of Ernie Brandts, who’ll be succeeded at Breda by Bob Maaskant, Gertjan Verbeek, leaving Heerenveen to take over at Feyenoord, and Stanley Menzo, who’s just guided Volendam back to the Eredivisie.  

Just over a month ago Rutten was officially announced as the next Schalke boss and it’s been reported that he’s counting on several players he knows well to boost his new side. Although Fiorentina’s Adrian Mutu has played down rumours linking him with a move to Gelsenkirchen, it could be that some Netherlands-based stars move across the border to Germany in the summer.  

Spoiling Van Basten’s party

Besides PSV Eindhoven’s Jeff Farfán, Rutten is allegedly targeting his former Twente player Orlando Engelaar, Heerenveen’s wiz-kid Miralem Sulejmani and the Ajax duo of Luis Suárez and Kennedy Bakircioglü!  

Together with Schalke’s general manager Andreas Müller, Rutten has decided that Die Königsblauen desperately need to sign a left back, a midfielder and a forward, with the latter position their top priority, according to Kicker sports magazine. “We need someone special up front,” explains Müller, a former Schalke defensive midfielder. “We want someone who is flexible, capable of occupying all three offensive positions.”  

Farfán, Suárez and Ajax-target Sulejmani are all high on that wish-list, alongside 20-year-old centre-forward Nikola Kalinić of Hajduk Split, described by national side boss Slaven Bilić as “the future of Croatian football”.  

The Engelaar situation

While even Sulejmani is seen as a possible attacking reinforcement, Engelaar is the main target to complete Schalke’s midfield puzzle. “He’s an interesting player for every club, therefore also for Schalke.” Rutten has said.  

However Engelaar, much like Sulejmani, has received a number of offers for a transfer this summer, even though his contract runs until mid-2011. Ajax, PSV Eindhoven, West Ham United and Olympique de Marseille have all contacted his agent Edward Burleson, according to the Algemeen Dagblad. A move to Amsterdam fell through earlier this season, as Twente asked for 15 million euros to let go of the 28-year-old international, but it is estimated that he could leave for a lower amount now, somewhere in the region of five million.  

Bakircioglü and Farfán have previously worked together with Rutten, and that is exactly why Engelaar seems to favour Schalke. And Burleson told the AD today that his client will announce his decision soon enough. “Orlando is on the verge of a very important decision, which won’t be taken before Marco van Basten names his final 23-man squad for the remainder of the European Championship. But if he is included he will then weigh all his options.”  

The Netherlands boss will announce his definitive party for the Austria and Switzerland final stage in a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.  

Panos Bletsos,