Recently the footballing world was sent into high gear by the announcement from Germany that a certain team manager would be vacating his position at the end of the campaign. So what? After all, we are currently in a period when domestic clubs are battling over the final few games for their respective titles while others try to stave off relegation. Domestic cup competitions are entering their final stages with the prize now in sight and the Champions League is well into the quarter finals. Given the ever increasing intensity and importance of the final couple months of football we have to look forward to, what managerial departure could possibly command so much attention? The answer is Jurgen Klopp.
Klopp’s imminent departure from Bundesliga club Borussia Dortmund may have caught some people off guard but anyone who has followed the 47 year old’s career and paid particularly close attention this season probably knew something was going to happen. Klopp arrived at Dortmund in 2008 and had a massive impact at the club. His first year saw him hoist the Supercup which was followed up with back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2010/11 and 2011/12. May 2012 was one of the high points of the former FSV Mainz player and manager’s career when he defeated Bayern Munich to claim the domestic double. The 2013 Champions League final saw Dortmund face off, yet again, against league rivals Bayern Munich. Klopp’s side put up a strong fight but fell just short in the end thanks to an Arjen Robben goal which left Dortmund as runners-up. Since then, things haven’t gone as well for Dortmund or their manager as the team currently sit 10th and 37 points back of league leaders Bayern. As he did at Mainz at the end of the 2007/08 season after a failing bid to get the team promoted, Klopp tendered his resignation.
With a manager of Klopp’s abilities and background now on the market (if a deal hasn’t already been arranged behind the scenes) the speculation turns to where he will end up next. Over the past few seasons, the German’s success in the Bundesliga had caused him to become linked with many of the biggest clubs in Europe whenever a vacancy opened. Heading into this off-season there will likely be a few major openings and a few more potential vacancies which Klopp could fill. Odds-makers have been very busy the past few nights, working on the statistics and probabilities in an effort to narrow down which touchline Klopp will be patrolling during the 2015/16 season. The following are 10 of the most likely destinations.
10 German National Team
8 AC Milan
If anyone needs a motivating force like Jurgen Klopp, it’s AC Milan. The Italian giants currently sit mid table, well off the leaders and outside a Champions League and Europa league position. The experiment with Clarence Seedorf as manager failed miserably and his replacement, Filippo Inzaghi has fared worse with a win percentage hovering around 33%. Like Napoli, Milan face a disadvantage in the entire ‘Klopp speculation saga’ given the German has no real ties to Italy and has spoken about the necessity of speaking the local language as being key in running a club. Additionally, if the odds makers’ tables were league tables, Milan would be in relegation concerning the signing of the former Dortmund boss.
7 Bayern Munich
A manager who is a good motivator, enjoys developing young players and employs a modern style of attacking football seems like a perfect fit for the Catalan giants – at least on paper. Current Barcelona manager Luis Enrique is still in the hunt for the Champions League and La Liga title. Win one, or both, of these coveted trophies and his job is likely secure for next season. Failure to secure major silverware combined with a bit of a rocky period experienced earlier this season could potentially create a Klopp-shaped hole in the Barcelona coaching staff.
4 Paris Saint-Germain
Currently in second place with a game in-hand in France’s Ligue 1 and still (barely) in Champions League following their first leg loss to Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain are technically still in the hunt for the quadruple. That said, manager Laurent Blanc’s future doesn’t seem all too clear as he remains unpopular with a large segment of the fans. Blanc’s passive approach and occasional inability to control some of his players and their egos also garners much attention. Bringing in Klopp, a known motivator and authoritative figure, would certainly fix that problem.
As we near the end of the season, it has become tradition over recent years to take a look around and see who is available to replace Arsene Wenger. To be fair, the pressure on the Arsenal manager has dropped off considerably given the FA Cup victory last season and the potential for a repeat cup win and a top-two league finish. This hasn’t stopped the odds makers or pundits from assessing the likelihood of Klopp finding his way to the Emirates. Further strengthening this link is the fact that it was Klopp who was so strongly linked with any potential managerial job at Arsenal when the vultures were really circling over Wenger during the past two seasons.
2 Real Madrid
Real Madrid are a massive club with an equally massive reputation. Currently they are managed by Carlo Ancelotti and find themselves in a tight race with rivals Barcelona for top spot in La Liga. Last season’s Copa del Rey and Champions League winners, the expectation of fans and leadership is that Los Blancos win silverware every season. However, winning any trophy isn’t always good enough and the expectation is that the club from the capital are top contenders every year in La Liga and the Champions League.
1 Manchester City
With an array of wealth, somewhat unrealistic expectations from year-to-year and a growing reputation for chewing up managers and spitting them out, Manchester City are, in many ways, Real Madrid-lite. Seen as the key to this summer’s managerial movement, City’s seemingly inevitable sacking of Manuel Pellegrini will get the ball rolling and, depending on which headlines you believe, bring in one of three high profile names. For at least a month, Pellegrini has been a dead-man-walking as City have crashed out of Europe and slid down the table where they currently sit fourth following an embarrassing defeat to Manchester United. The British press have been vocal in announcing that the likely replacements for the Chilean are Bayern Munich’s Pep Guardiola, Real Madrid’s Carlo Ancelotti and Jurgen Klopp.
Most odds makers have Klopp as the favorite to lead the sky blues next season by a significant margin. This is likely because the club reportedly offered him the job before hiring Pellegrini in 2013. That said, logic would suggest that Ancelotti is the practical choice here. After all, the Italian has considerable experience in nearly all of Europe’s biggest leagues and has even managed with domestic success in England with Chelsea. Statistically speaking, given Pelligrini is likely nearing the end as manager at City and previous contender Klopp is available, it makes sense for now that the position is being linked to the German coach.
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