In an interview with Voetbal International, Feyenoord manager Jaap Stam has claimed that he was approached by Newcastle in March for the head coach position.
If this is correct, the approach would have been four months before Rafa Benitez had officially left Newcastle. This is the claim made by the 47-year-old:
“You have been informed because it is correct. Newcastle United contacted me a few days after I agreed to manage Feyenoord. So it was not an option right away.
“I am a man of my word. It was beautiful and honorable because the people in England apparently know what I stand for as a coach.”
Giovanni van Bronckhorst announced in January that he would be ending his 4-year reign at Feyenoord at the end of that season. On March 6th, the Dutch club appointed Jaap Stam as his successor.
So Newcastle’s contact with Stam would have come around the second week of March. If true, this is a strange choice by Newcastle.
Under van Bronckhorst Feyenoord never finished lower than 4th and won the Eredivisie in 2017. However, they are currently languishing in 10th place under Stam.
During this summer, it was reported that van Bronckhorst was interested in the open Newcastle position but was not granted an interview due to his limited experience in England.
However, Stam has only coached Reading in the Championship, where he was sacked after a run of 1 win in 18 matches in his second year.
There was a report in the Mirror a few weeks back that claimed that Manchester City were preparing van Bronckhorst to be Pep Guardiola’s successor. That is a little strange as we assumed Mikel Arteta was primed to be the next Manchester City manager.
Arteta was also approached by Newcastle to replace Benitez but turned that chance down. Giovanni van Bronckhorst has been at Manchester City since September in an unofficial capacity to learn the inner workings of the club according to the report in the Mirror.
If Newcastle felt in March that they would not be retaining Rafa Benitez, then Giovanni van Bronckhorst seems to have been a better target than Jaap Stam.
That is all in the past now, but it is going to be very interesting to see how van Bronckhorst’s future pans out.