Fresh reports emanating from a number of reputable sources in Spain this week have suggested that Barcelona are lining up enigmatic and eccentric Dortmund coach, Jurgen Klopp as the replacement for out-going Tata Martino at the end of the season.
It is believed that beleaguered boss Martino is due to resign at the end of the season, as pressure mounts on the back of three consecutive defeats for the Catalan club. Barcelona’s somewhat capitulation in recent weeks has not only seen them knocked out of the Champions league without reaching at least the Semi-Final stage for the first time since 2007, but also seen them drop further behind both Real and Champions League nemeses Athletico in the La Liga title race after a defeat to La Liga minnows Granada. Last night heaped further pressure on the Argentine as Barca were beaten by bitter rivals Real Madrid in the Copa Del Rey cup final.
Klopp, who himself is enduring a less than impressive season with Dortmund, has now been earmarked as the main man to replace Martino at the Camp Nou, according to Spanish paper AS. Klopp, who at the beginning of this season extended his contract to 2018, is said to not be quite happy at Dortmund and has, on a number of occasions reaffirmed his ambitions to see out the remainder of his contract at the Westfalenstadion. However, with Bayern cantering to the Bundesliga title with a record number of points and consistent sale of one top player a year, two of which will end up at bitter rivals Bayern (Gotze & Lewandoski), Klopp may re-evaluate his defiance in seeing out his contract. Add to that the fact that the lure of Barcelona and managing Messi, Iniesta and co may be impossible to turn down.
Klopp, who was one of the front runners to replace Sir Alex prior to the surprise announcement of his retirement last May, has long been regarded as the finest up and coming coach in Europe. Despite the appointment t of Moyes, the Klopp link has not diminished, and with increasing talk of a Moyes departure at the end of the season, Klopp is currently the 6/1 favourite to be the installed as the next United boss at both Sky Bet and Paddy Power.
Klopp, in many ways fits the bill, and it came as a surprise to many that he wasn’t a front runner in the first place. Having proven himself to be a winner at Dortmund with two league titles and a German Cup to his name, he literally resurrected Dortmund from the dead, all on a tight budget while playing an expansive attacking brand of football. He has also proven himself to be tactically cute having masterminded a spectacular victory over Real Madrid in the Champions League which seen them advance to the final, only to lose to Bayern. Klopp is a character and his press conferences while genuine, are inevitably entertaining – but not in the self-indulging style of Mourinho, but more so because of his often over evident passion for the game and his idiosyncratic nature. Importantly Klopp also fits the United mantra of stability and long term perspective. Having, apparently been offered both the City and Chelsea jobs in the previous two years he has opted to stay at Dortmund and see out his long term vision for the club.
If Barca come calling it may be curtains for us, but the lure of managing Manchester United is one of great appeal, just ask Mourinho! As such, reports suggesting he is on Barca’s radar should be met with action by United as the man that fits the bill more than most to replace Moyes could already be on his way to pastures new.
Could not acting quick enough to secure the services of Klopp, in fact, be more detrimental long term than the appointment of Moyes in the first place?