Jürgen Klopp is no longer the best man for Borussia Dortmund. He said so himself, in a press conference on Wednesday, a couple hours after Bild broke the news that coach and club would be parting ways come the end of the season.
Well. There’s no better way to bring down a torrential rain of rumors than to announce that one of the world’s most talented coaches is stepping away from his current job. Could he wind up at Arsenal? Liverpool? Paris Saint-Germain or Real Madrid? TP Mazembe? West Ham?
Sorry to disappoint, friends, but last winter, Klopp already squished the hopes of most of the world when announcing that the only other country he could see himself managing in would be England. Sorry France, Spain, Democratic Republic of Congo. Arsenal has already ruled out wooing Klopp, preferring the devil-they-know in Arsène Wenger. Liverpool, with a squad suited to Klopp’s style, seems content to keep giving Brendan Rodgers more time.
We’re left, then, with Manchester City, the odds-on favored destination for Klopp next season. While Dortmund, currently 10th in the Bundesliga, is having a rather nightmarish season, City isn’t being spared any blushes. The Premier League’s defending champs aren’t battling it out for another trophy, but rather struggling to hold on to a Champions League place. With the club’s high expectations widely known, it seems likely that Manuel Pellegrini won’t be given any sort of grace.
So the door’s wide open for Klopp – but will that gig enhance his reputation, or leave it in tatters? Despite Dortmund’s poor showing this season, the coach’s seven seasons with the club have marked him as one of the best in the business. In that time, BVB snagged two Bundesliga titles, one German Cup, and came second to rivals Bayern Munich in the 2012-13 Champions League final. But there’s been a few unimpressed mutterings over the course of the past six months: Klopp is a man too welded to his style. Klopp did nothing to adjust to Dortmund’s rhythm and flow, the stars leaving and lesser names taking their place. Klopp is, perhaps, a little too full of himself.
The 47-year-old’s next job could well decide his future in the game, and as such, it might be a bit risky to take on City, particularly considering the club’s penchant for firing managers that don’t consistently churn out silverware. There’s also the tiny little problem that the City squad doesn’t exactly fit the mold of a Klopp team – and we’ve already seen the problems he has adjusting his style. The coach will want his players to run run run, press press press, and considering the age most of them are carrying around, this might be an impossible task.
But there’s a good chance City will be rebuilding come summer, and if a new coach is already lined up, he’ll have some say in shaping his side. Klopp would be able to find players in his mold, players to build his squad around. Perhaps he could convince Marco Reus to come to England. And surely Mats Hummels would be less terrifying than many of City’s current central defenders.
There’s one snag, though: City’s reported love for Klopp’s most recent nemesis, the man on the bench at Bayern. If it’s Pep Guardiola the club really wants, Jürgen may find himself considering West Ham after all.
Meanwhile, Dortmund isn’t likely to be panicking. Even before the news broke that Klopp would be leaving the club, we already knew that Thomas Tuchel had (wisely) turned down the chance to coach struggling HSV. It’s thought the 41-year-old, wanted by both Bayer Leverkusen and Schalke while he was impressing at Mainz 05, will be on his way to Dortmund next season. He’s the opposite of Klopp in many ways, a much quieter presence on the bench. He’s also well known for being tactically savvy, with his teams able to easily change their approach several times during a match.
In other words, Tuchel might be exactly the coach Dortmund need to lift the team back into success next season. And Klopp’s charisma and charm could in turn be exactly what Manchester City needs. It’s rare the pieces fit into place so perfectly – but of course, this is all mere speculation at the moment.