The shocking yet in reality not surprising news that Jurgen Klopp is leaving Borussia Dortmund was announced this past Wednesday. And before his office seat was even cold and before the official press conference even happened, the excitement over Klopp’s next major press conference this summer had already started.
For a coach with a reputation and record as impressive as the German’s, he will not want for suitors; the difficult for him then lies in finding the right job. At this time, it is impossible to know where Klopp and his beard will end up yet after a quick look around the top clubs in Europe, Barcelona may be the most straightforward and logical place for Klopp.
Jurgen Klopp is leaving Dortmund for very simple reasons. After repeated seasons of his best players leaving for higher salaries at Bayern Munich combined with another season of devastating injuries, Klopp is understandably frustrated. The coach is tired of struggling to find replacements every year while competing against a team with a higher pay roll and the willingness to spend it.
So, the German is off for his next adventure and with Bayern’s recent domestic dominance and Pep’s influence, it is highly unlikely that Klopp will remain in Germany. Thus, Jurgen Klopp will more than likely be looking outside Germany’s borders for his next challenge.
Dortmund’s success under Klopp and his style of play will ensure that he has the pick of Europe. Yet there are only a few clubs that can afford him and offer what he wants (money to spend and a solid system in place).
The clubs that will be in the hunt (either actually or through media speculation) will probably be Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, PSG, Ajax, and any top Italian club besides Juventus. However, a closer look at what each of the above clubs offer and what Klopp desires, the list becomes a list of one.
The problem with Ajax and the Italian league is that they simply do not have the funds to buy and keep their top players—a situation Klopp will certainty avoid after watching his Dortmund team turn into a feeder club for Bayern Munich. PSG and City would both be tempting offers with the deep pockets of their owners and the potential of European Glory but both clubs are still too focused on big names rather than solid systems.
With Klopp’s insistence of team play, both of these clubs and their transfer policies would give him serious pause.
At first Real Madrid seems like a good option with their desire and thirst to win everything. Klopp would certainty have the players he would want, the funds to pay and keep them, and the support (at least from the beginning) to implement his strategy. Yet, Madrid is no safe haven for a manager.
The club has a history of getting rid of successful and skilled managers with a wave of their hand. But more importantly, it is clear that club legend Zidane is being groomed as the next manager and anyone before him would just be a stop-gap measure—something a coach of Klopp’s skill and reputation will definitely not subject himself to.
This leaves Barcelona as the most logical next step for Jurgen Klopp. However, there is that untidy business of the club already having a manager that still has the club in contention for 3 trophies this season. Yet despite Luis Enrique’s success thus far, he has (fairly or not) not been accepted and loved by the club’s supporters mainly due to the style of play the team has used under his reign.
Even more essential beyond the style of play to the current manager of Barcelona is the looming presidential elections this summer. In all likelihood there will be a new president and he will want his own man in charge. The new president will want to put his own stamp on the club and since the transfer ban will forbid him from signing a new player, a big name coach will be the next best thing.
Thus, there is a strong feeling around the club that unless Enrique can bring home the European trophy, he will be heading home. (After all, Barcelona can’t get rid of a European champion; it is not like they are Real Madrid or anything).
Therefore, the door at Nou Camp could well be open for Klopp. Barcelona offers everything the German could desire. The club is an annual championship contender, has no problem spending money (once January 2016 comes around), and is a destination not a starting point for star players. More importantly, the club has a system in place and has a history of successfully pressing their opponents.
Klopp could walk straight onto the training grounds and would not have to worry about starting from scratch. Finally, the Klopp’s Dortmund showcased a style of play that was both feared and admired by the footballing world—a style of play that would endear him the Nou Camp faithful.
Although it can’t be ruled out that Jurgen Klopp may want a new challenge or a club where he can stay as long as he wants and make a team his own, from his press conference it seems the German no longer wants to coach with one hand tied behind his back.
If he wants to see what he can do at a club with no restrictions and a system built to succeed, Barcelona is the place for him. If Enrique isn’t celebrating in Berlin this summer, expect to see Jurgen Klopp and the new Barcelona president celebrating a few weeks later at Klopp’s press conference.