Rotterdam giants hung on clinch first Eredivisie championship in 18 years after finishing one point ahead of Ajax in tense race
FORMER Arsenal defender Giovanni van Bronckhorst has guided Feyenoord to an historic first Dutch title in 18 years.
A hat-trick from Dirk Kuyt ensured the Rotterdam giants were Eredivisie champions as they beat Heracles 3-1.
And they finished the season a point clear of Ajax and in first place for the first time since 1999.
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The mastermind behind the achievement was Van Bronckhorst who oversaw an incredible transformation in the club — setting up the triumph by claiming the KNVB Cup last season.
Could he be a potential replacement for Arsene Wenger when the Arsenal boss finally stands down?
The Dutchman was part of Arsenal’s Premier League and FA Cup double-winning side of 2001-02 — and won the latter a second time when they beat Southampton at the Millennium Stadium to retain the famous old trophy.
So he knows what it takes to win in England.
Furthermore, he also won two Scottish titles with Rangers prior to moving to Highbury.
Van Bronckhorst left Arsenal for Barcelona and was a major part of the Catalan revolution.
And started the 2006 Champions League final victory over his former club, while he also captained Holland — a nation notorious for a lack of unity — to the 2010 World Cup final.
A young coach at the age of 42, he would bring a winning mentality to the Emirates.
While Feyenoord exited the Europa League at the group stage, he still scored a famous 1-0 victory over Manchester United.
Van Bronckhorst fits the profile Arsenal would like to follow on from Wenger.
He would be keen to stay for the long-term, and has shown he can achieve success on a budget.
He brought a winning mentality to a club that had gone nearly two decades without even mounting a genuine title challenge.
Feyenoord let a seven-point lead slip to take the title race right to the wire.
They had the chance to wrap it up with a game to spare, but lost 3-0 at Excelsior, meaning they could not afford any mistakes on the final day.
But the boss kept the players’ heads together and got them over the line in style.
It is looking increasingly likely that Wenger will stay on for at least another season.
And that may give Van Bronckhorst just enough time to prove he is no flash in the pan.