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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 June, 2005, 17:25 GMT 18:25 UK
The Arnesen factor
By Charlie Henderson

Martin Jol and Frank Arnesen
Martin Jol and Arnesen were starting to send Spurs in the right direction

Frank Arnesen arrived in London in May 2004 as Tottenham's new sporting director with little fanfare.

Now, a little more than 12 months on, the 48-year-old's name is being trumpeted in headlines after Chelsea made an approach for his services.

But why are the Premiership champions so keen to recruit the Dane?

The answer is writ large in a footballing career that has spanned 30 years in four European countries.

Tottenham's decision to go down the sporting director route did not win fulsome support in a country used to the more traditional British ethos of management.

But what was never in doubt was the fact Arnesen was the right man for that job.

A pacy, attacking midfielder with an eye for goal, he enjoyed a glittering playing career at club level with Ajax, Anderlecht, Valencia and PSV Eindhoven and won 52 caps for Denmark.

After hanging up his boots he wasted little time in starting the next stage of his career, taking his coaching badges and becoming assistant manager to Bobby Robson at PSV Eindhoven.

But it was his talent for spotting and developing players that impressed the club most and he was moved "upstairs" within three years.

Arnesen was appointed as technical director, advisor and manager of scouting and transfers at PSV, a role he kept for 10 years until Guus Hiddink restructured the club.

During that time he unearthed a host of talented, young players, including the likes of Ronaldo, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Jaap Stam and present Chelsea duo Mateja Kezman and Arjen Robben.

He also took Eidur Gudjohnsen to PSV - the Icelandic striker now also plays for Chelsea.

Not only did that help bring success, it also saved on spending and brought in financial reward when they moved on.

Born: 30 September 1956
Copenhagen, Denmark
52 Denmark caps; 14 goals
1975: Joins Ajax Amsterdam and wins three league titles
1981: Moves to Valencia and is La Liga's top scorer in first year
1983: Wins league title in Belgium with Anderlecht
1985: Returns to Holland with PSV Eindhoven and wins three league titles before landing the European Cup in 1988
1991: Appointed PSV Eindhoven assistant to Bobby Robson
1994: Becomes PSV Eindhoven technical director
2004: Joins Tottenham
2005: Suspended by Spurs after link to Chelsea

As well as his undoubted ability for picking potential stars, Arnesen also boasts one of football's biggest contact books.

"He was a highly-respected player who everybody liked, and as a result, he has built up a huge network of contacts throughout Europe and elsewhere," Dutch journalist Henk van Weert told BBC Sport when Tottenham got their man.

It was a view seconded by Arnesen's former international team-mate, Jan Molby.

"Make no mistake, if Frank rings AC Milan or any other big club, they take his call right away. He's a real class act," the former Liverpool player told BBC Sport.

Arnesen came in to restructure Spurs and, after a false start with Frenchman Jacques Santini at the helm, enjoyed a productive first season at White Hart Lane.

In partnership with Martin Jol, his behind-the-scenes wheeling-and-dealing helped the club recover from their ignominious start to end the campaign on the cusp of European qualification.

Players came in from around the world and during the January transfer window he attracted promising youngsters from the lower leagues such as Nottingham Forest duo Andy Reid and Michael Dawson and Derby's Tom Huddlestone.

They are the sort of signings Chelsea would baulk at when, blessed with Roman Abramovich's millions, they can bring in any number of players who are the finished article, whatever the fee.

But it is impossible to put a price on developing talent at a fraction of the cost.

Abramovich will be hoping Arnesen delves into that contacts book and unearths some more potential stars to help make Chelsea a viable business as well as maintain their position at the Premiership summit.


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