COMMENT: The Dortmund coach has announced he is leaving this summer and placed Premier League clubs on alert after he revealed he has no plans to take a sabbatical
If Jurgen Klopp was telling the truth when he claimed there has been “no contact” from other clubs, that should change once Manchester City have digested the news that he is leaving Borussia Dortmund.
There has been a sense that Manuel Pellegrini might survive the Premier League club’s dreadful title defence due to the lack of viable alternatives, with Bayern Munichh boss Pep Guardiola unlikely to be available for another year at the earliest.
Suddenly, however, the ideal candidate has presented himself. Klopp is the perfect fit for a City squad that needs an overhaul this summer and he is a coach that would sate their desire for a “holistic” identity that includes youngsters being brought through the academy.
Pellegrini has looked a beaten man in recent weeks. City are fourth in the Premier League and fighting to qualify for next season’s Champions League, while they once again failed to get past the last 16 in Europe’s elite competition.
City are planning massive changes to their ageing squad this summer and Klopp would be the ideal man to rejuvenate the club ahead of a renewed title challenge. He has the personality, the tactical nous and a CV that includes two Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and a Champions League final appearance.
Despite Dortmund’s poor campaign, he remains one of the most attractive coaches in Europe and, at City, he would be given the platform to compete for trophies without the handicap of losing his best players to rivals, as has happened at Signal Iduna Park with Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski being prised away by Bayern.
It would be even better for City if the likes of Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gundogan and Marco Reus could follow him to the Etihad Stadium.
They have the financial clout to sign all three players and are desperately looking for proven ‘A-list’ talent this summer to solve their issues and replacing a creaking spine. A central defender, a deep-lying playmaker and a speedy forward with a goalscoring instinct were already clear priorities.
Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal have all sounded out Klopp in the past only to be told, ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.
Now, though, the timing is perfect for City after Klopp confirmed that he will not take a year out of the game, as was anticipated when the news broke of his departure from Dortmund on Wednesday.
“It’s not that I am tired. I have had no contact with another club, either in England or elsewhere,” Klopp said during an emotional press conference.
“But I do not intend to take a sabbatical year. It is important that we give the news today so that everyone can adjust and the club can plan.”
City will be wary of the possibility of Real Madrid or Barcelona making a move for Klopp, but the 47-year-old has revealed in the past that the Premier League is the only division he would coach in outside of the Bundesliga.
Asked last November about one day managing in England, Klopp said: “I think it’s the only country I think where I should work, next to Germany because it’s the only country I know the language a little bit and I need the language for my work. If somebody will call me, then we will talk about it.”
One concern for Klopp would be the sacking culture at City, where Roberto Mancini was relieved of his duties a year after winning the club’s first title in 44 years and Pellegrini is now under extreme pressure after winning the league and the Capital One Cup in his debut season.
Klopp spent seven years in charge of Mainz and will leave Dortmund after seven years, too.
Arsene Wenger has long considered Klopp as a good man to replace him at Arsenal, but the Gunners are in excellent form and there is no chance of a change of leadership in north London this summer.
Likewise, Manchester United are happy with Louis Van Gaal and the possibility of Brendan Rodgers leaving Liverpool is slim – despite a mixed season at Anfield.
Opportunities as enticing as this present themselves once in a blue moon and it is one that is surely too good to resist if City are to deliver on their intention of becoming a true European superpower.