Southampton manager Ronald Koeman's football philosophy makes him an ideal fit for Arsenal, according to former Netherlands international Ronald de Boer. The 53-year-old is in the midst of negotiations over a new deal at St Mary's but has been urged to take a new step in his managerial career following a successful spell on the south coast.
Koeman has guided Saints to record points totals in each of his two seasons in charge, last term inspiring the club to fifth place in the Premier League – their highest top flight finish since the 1983-84 campaign. But those achievements have seen him linked with a move away from the club.
The Sun understands that Arsenal have identified Koeman as the chief contender to replace Arsene Wenger when he leaves the Emirates Stadium. The French coach has one year remaining on his current deal, and with talks yet to begin over an extension there have been calls for him to make his 20th season in North London his last.
And De Boer, who played with Koeman during his first spell as a player with Ajax and was then coached by him during spells with the Dutch national team, feels his former colleague has earned the opportunity to coach at the summit of the game. "Koeman has quality to manage a big team," he told reporters.
"I think Arsenal is a perfect match for him. He is like their football, comes from the same nest. He likes attractive football and is a winner. What he did with Southampton was like winning the league. He [has achieved things that are] unbelievable in two years and I think he is ready for the next big step."
Arsenal's hopes of luring Koeman to the club could yet be scuppered, with Southampton close to securing the former Benfica and Valencia coach to a new deal. Koeman's current contract expires at the end of the 2016-17, the same summer as Wenger's, but executive director of football Les Reed says talks are progressing positively.
"Talks are ongoing all the time, and there is never really a point where you can say 'on this day we'll starting talking'," Reed told the club's official website. "Conversations go on all the time about planning for the future. Ronald has mentioned recently that he's sat down with us at board level and talked about the five-year plan.
"We're now at a point, as Ronald has said himself, where we're actually getting down to the detail of the contract, which is where agents and lawyers get involved. Everything is going very positively at the moment."