Ajax boss Erik ten Hag has offered his thoughts on the recent departure of Marc Overmars, who left his role as director of football at the Dutch giants last week. Overmars walked away from the club with immediate effect on Sunday after he was accused of sending inappropriate messages to female colleagues.
The former Arsenal winger has built up a reputation as a hugely impressive operator behind the scenes at the Johan Cruyff Arena since taking the position in 2012.
However, his sudden departure was officially confirmed by Ajax on Sunday evening after it was decided that his behavior had crossed acceptable boundaries.
Overmars went on to publicly apologize for his role in the saga as the club’s general manager, Edwin van der Sar, vowed to ensure the maintenance of a safe working climate in the future.
Ten Hag has since weighed in on the situation by admitting that he was as shocked as anybody to learn of Overmars’ alleged misconduct.
“I’m fine, but I know what you mean,” he told ESPN when quizzed on how he was feeling in the wake of the news.
JUST IN: Liverpool warned summer move for Fabio Carvalho could still fail
“We’ve had incredibly bad days, of course. I was totally stunned when I heard it. This is disastrous. Especially for the victims, the women.
“I have a hard time with the suffering that has been caused to them. Everyone processes this in their own way. I then withdraw a bit and am a bit quieter than usual.
“As a trainer you naturally have to radiate energy, but that was difficult the last few days.”
Ten Hag enjoyed a close relationship with Overmars during the latter’s time at Ajax and went on to suggest that the success of their working bond made the situation harder to come to terms with.
“That’s why it hits hard,” added Ten Hag. “Of course, you sympathize with him, but the first thoughts go to the suffering of the women, it touches us all to the depths of our souls.”
The 52-year-old went on to reveal that he spoke directly with Overmars following his departure but refused to divulge any specific information about what was discussed.
“That’s between us, it is difficult,” I explained.
“We are working on something very beautiful, it will be interrupted in a moment. That is of course a very difficult situation.
“It affects us all, but as of yesterday, the switch had to be turned.”
FOLLOW OUR NEW DAILY EXPRESS SPORT INSTAGRAM PAGE
Meanwhile, it has recently been suggested that Overmars’ exit could inadvertently see Ten Hag leave Ajax at the end of the season to take charge of Manchester United.
The Red Devils are said to be keen on appointing the Dutchman as their new permanent boss to replace Ralf Rangnick, who will take up a consultancy role at Old Trafford ahead of the following campaign.
Transfer expert Fabrizio Romano has claimed that Ten Hag may decide to seek a new challenge in the summer after losing the services of Overmars, who has played an influential role in shaping Ajax’s fortunes over the last few years.
“I have [Ten Hag] was 100 per cent involved in the project at Ajax, but with Overmars now leaving the club it could have a big impact on Ten Hag’s future,” explained Romano on the Vibe with Five podcast.
“Hag and [Mauricio] Pochettino are the two big favorites to be the new Manchester United manager in the summer.”
Want the latest Premier League news as we publish it on Express Sport? Join our brand new Facebook group by clicking here
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.