If all the newspapers are correct, Jurgen Klopp’s diary is going to be pretty full next season. The Sun links the giant-molared German coach to Tottenham. The Mirror says he’s bound for Manchester United. They also mention that Barcelona want him too. Klopp himself has given no indication that he actually wants to leave Borussia Dortmund at all, and meanwhile a picture does the rounds on the internet that shows someone who looks just like him celebrating with the Internazionale ultras.
In fairness, The Sun only claims that Klopp is at the top of Daniel Levy’s wishlist, presumably in much the same way that Kelly Brook is at the top of mine. It’s hard to imagine Klopp talking his wife into a move to North London.
“Come on, darling. Yes, we’re happy, successful and adored here in Dortmund, but why settle for that when we could go to Spurs? Think of it, my love! A stadium less than half the size! No Champions League football! Impossible expectations! A chairman who reaches for his axe whenever we lose possession! Come, let us live the dream!”
Klopp, it barely needs saying, should tread carefully. He is the hottest managerial property in Europe, successful enough to land any available job he wants, considered inspirational enough to win over any supporters and young enough to be seen as a long term option. Few managers ever find themselves in this position, with their pick of the best jobs in the world. Fewer still ever experience it more than once. And this is an extraordinary time for football.
In much the same way that last summer was an obvious epochal page break in the history of the Premier League, there’s a growing feeling that this summer will be much the same, but for the rest of Europe. In Spain, Barcelona have been hit with an epic transfer embargo at the worst time possible, just as their superstars go past their use-by date. In Germany, it remains to be seen how Bayern Munich will cope without their boardroom figurehead, Uli Hoeness. In France, Paris Saint-Germain are reported to be staring down the barrel of heavy UEFA sanctions. Everywhere you look, runestones are tumbling through the air.
Klopp would be excellent for Manchester United. He’s vibrant and exciting, positive and fascinating. All the things that poor David Moyes is not. Klopp would never dub Liverpool the favourites at Old Trafford. Klopp is not an average person. Klopp would bring his electric guitar to work and express his ideas through the medium of power chords and even Ryan Giggs would be compelled to throw the goat. And while Klopp’s relentless exuberance would probably start to grate after a while, it’s hard to argue that he wouldn’t be an improvement.
But perhaps Klopp would be best served by waiting to see what happens at The Emirates this summer. Memories of boundless success are still so fresh at Old Trafford. At the Emirates, that’s not the case. Given their admirably defiant reaction to criticism last weekend, it’s probably a bad time to posit change at Arsenal, but on the off chance that Arsene Wenger trots into the sunset with an FA Cup stuffed in his saddlebag, the Gunners couldn’t ask for a better replacement for Klopp.
He would rejuvenate the club, shaking out the lethargy and complacency that has dogged them for so long. A new broom sweeps clean and Klopp would beat the likes of Lukas Podolski over the head with it on the first morning of training.
At Arsenal, Klopp would have an enormous transfer budget, the sustainable revenue to offer high wages, an academy that will continue to rumble out players for generations, top class facilities and, more pertinently, the most valuable attribute of all: Patience.
With time, money and reasonable expectations, Klopp would have the freedom to build another empire. If Wenger leaves, Arsenal is arguably the best job in European football.