Arsenal legend Dennis Bergkamp planning EFL takeover to rival Gary Neville

Arsenal icon Dennis Bergkamp has doubled down on his plan to follow in Gary Neville’s footsteps by purchasing an EFL club. Neville has part-owned League Two side Salford City since 2014 alongside his brother Phil Neville, Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, Nicky Butt and David Beckham.

Bergkamp is also keen on becoming an owner and launched an unsuccessful bid to purchase Wycombe Wanderers in 2019 after teaming up with Henrik Larsson, Dirk Kuyt, Ronald Koeman, Phillip Cocu and agent Rob Jansen. The former Arsenal striker was not deterred by his failure with the Chairboys, though, and is still eager to take over an EFL side.

“It is still a dream of mine to develop players, run an academy, and use all our knowledge and experience to get promoted,” Bergkamp told The Mirror. “Not with a foreign billionaire who puts in a lot of money just to go up quickly.

“If you have a group of former top footballers together then you just start lower. I am convinced that with a club in League One, with real football knowledge, you can get promoted to the Championship within five years, 10 years at most.”

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Bergkamp also revealed in an interview with De Telegraaf that he backed Spotify tycoon Daniel Ek in his unsuccessful attempt to convince Stan Kroenke to sell Arsenal to him in 2021. The Gunners legend added that is not interested in buying a Premier League club for his next venture due to the complications of tempting owners into doing business.

“We are not talking about the Premier League, that is a very difficult league to enter,” he explained. “I did go into Arsenal with some other Arsenal legends, together with Daniel Ek, but you can hardly move the owner of such a big club to sell in this day and age with the amounts that apply. The sale of Manchester United is also still not complete.”

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Bergkamp, who spent six years as Ajax’s assistant manager before his sacking in 2017, would also be open to a coaching role if the opportunity arises. He added: “I don’t think I am good enough to be a head coach as I don’t think I am sufficiently interested to want to manage everything.

“I respect people who can do this, but I prefer a different role, in between the youth squad and the first team. I find the best job to be in developing players. My role in acting as a bridge for youth team players in getting to the first XI suited me the best.

“I found this to be a great job while I was at Ajax. I saw the young prospects coming through, discussed them with the youth coaches and the academy head, and I also had the ear of the head coach. I hope for a similar role in the future if I get back into football and I think it will happen.”

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