Jaap Stam has today signed a new two-year deal at Reading which has seen him commit his future at the club until 2019 to continue his first job in English football management.
Stam's assistant Andries Ulderink and first-team coach Said Bakkati have also agreed new deals with the club after arriving with Stam last summer.
An impressive debut season at Reading
When the former PSV Eindhoven, Manchester United, Lazio, AC Milan and Ajax centre-half took over at the Madejski just over a year ago, there were many raised eyebrows. It was Stam's first job in English football and many questioned whether he would be able to adapt to the different way of working and guide the Royals to success in The Championship.
Despite only being in charge for a short period of time, Stam exceeded expectations as he led his side to a third place finish last season. Considering the Royals finished 19th and 17th in the previous two campaigns respectively, the job Stam has done has been recognised by many. Unfortunately, the season ended in the most gutting way possible as his side were denied Premier League football in the play-off final at Wembley as they lost on penalties to Huddersfield Town.
Linked with a number of jobs elsewhere
Due to how well he turned Reading's fortunes around this year, other clubs have been sniffing around and considering trying to lure Stam away from the Madejski. He has been linked with a number of clubs in recent times with West Ham United, Hull City and others said to be interested in appointing him as manager in recent times.
However, despite these links, he has remained loyal to the club and remains focussed on the long-term goal of guiding the club back to the top flight. The club's owners, Dai Yongge and Dai Xiu Li, made securing the long-term signature of Stam one of their main priorities for this summer. They have stated their delight at Stam's commitment to the club and are looking forward to continuing to work with him.
Mr Dai told Reading's official site: “My sister and I are absolutely delighted that Jaap Stam has agreed to sign a new contract at Reading Football Club."
He also stated how Stam will be significantly backed again in this transfer window to help him build a squad capable of pushing even harder for promotion next season. He added: "We will support Jaap in helping him to build a squad capable of challenging at the top end of the Championship again in 2017-18 and that support will continue throughout the season as we look forward to the challenge of a brand new season!”
It will certainly be a challenge for Stam to replicate Reading's success this season again next term. He had already previously stated that remaining in The Championship could see the Royals lose some of their star players such as Jordan Obita and John Swift.
Stam has not been too busy in regards to making additions to his squad ahead of the 2017/18 campaign so far. However, he did make his first signing last week by bringing Pelle Clement to the club after he agreed a three-year deal after joining from Ajax.