If the German manager is snapped up by an English club, then there will be some who will question why a British manager wasn’t given the chance.
When Manuel Pellegrini was given the Manchester City job last summer, there were people who suggested that it was a wrong move.
There were calls for the club’s wealthy Emirati owners to give a British manager the job instead of looking to mainland Europe for inspiration. Roberto Mancini may have won the Citizens an historic Premier League title, but his triumph was undermined by the amount of money he could spend on players. The Italian boss did not help himself much by moaning how much he needed to reinforce his squad any time there was an injury or his team dropped points.
Meanwhile, the likes of Sam Allardyce and David Moyes built their respective squads on modest budgets and did their job as efficiently as possible. All they needed was a big club to have faith in them and hire them. Yet, they remained stuck.
Jurgen Klopp’s appointment by Manchester United or Tottenham Hotspur this summer could rattle the same people who did not like City giving Pellegrini the managerial post. The German coach’s exploits at Borussia Dortmund might be hugely impressive, but so was Pellegrini’s at Villarreal and Malaga – that did not stop his detractors.
If indeed United were to discard Moyes for Klopp – and it is not very likely that they would do so – or Spurs opt to wave Tim Sherwood a fond farewell and head for the 46-year-old, then it would imply yet another top managerial job at a major Premier League club to a foreign coach, albeit a proven one. It is certainly not going to go down well with those who want the British managers to be given first refusal on such occasions. You just have to wait until the end of the season to hear clamours of ‘I told you so’ once it is confirmed that City will end up with just the League Cup in Pellegrini’s first year in charge at the Etihad Stadium.
The argument that the big Premier League clubs jump at the drop of a hat to appoint a foreign manager does indeed have some weight. Perhaps it stems out of a need to get instant results and club executives are made to believe that bringing in whoever is hot in the news would solve all problems.
Dortmund have indeed been a force both in Germany and in the Champions League in the last four seasons, but it took Klopp a while to get them there. Klopp took charge of BVB in 2008 and won the title in 2011. That’s a gap of three years in which he invested in players from around Europe, groomed them and instilled in them a collective winning mentality.
At Dortmund he built a team in his own image; more importantly, he was afforded time and was trusted to do so. At United, Klopp would have to start winning trophies straight away and Spurs would not give him two years to build a competitive squad.
Perhaps the fans, at least a good number of them, have a similar mindset. When Moyes was given the United job last summer, many fans wondered why Jose Mourinho was not chosen, forgetting that the Portuguese does not stay at one club for too long and that the Scot had worked wonders at Everton.
There is no doubt that the clubs must be careful about who they appoint to take charge of the team and must maintain their faith in them. Michael Laudrup won Swansea City their first major trophy in history in 2013 and less than a year later he was gone. Malky Mackay led Cardiff City to Premier League promotion in 2013 and less than a year later he was gone. Andre Villas-Boas was appointed as the Tottenham manager in 2012 and in 2013 he was gone; his successor Sherwood could be relieved of his duties after just six months.
The problem is not about a manager’s nationality, but whether he is a right fit for a certain club.