Jurgen Klopp insists he has not been approached by Manchester United, and regardless, he has a thousand reasons to stay at Borussia Dortmund.
After having Sir Alex Ferguson at the helm for 26 years, United are now looking for a second manager within 12 months following their decision to sack David Moyes earlier this week. The former Everton coach struggled badly after succeeding his fellow Scot, to such an extent that the Reds look set to miss out on European football next term.
It was perhaps predictable that Klopp would be one of the first names mentioned as a potential replacement, due to his excellent record at Dortmund. During his six-year spell at the club, he has led them to the Bundesliga title on two occasions, and last term they reached the UEFA Champions League final where they lost to Bayern Munich.
But almost as soon as Moyes was issued with his P45, Klopp stated that he was completely happy with his current club, to whom he remains under contract until the summer of 2018. And the 46-year-old has now reiterated this stance, claiming that no offer has been received from United and besides, he has a thousand reasons to stay with Dortmund.
“As long as things continue to go as they are here, then I have a clear agreement with Borussia Dortmund,” he said. “Therefore it cannot have anything to do with the greatness of a team, even if there were to be an offer. And to react to this is a bit uncomfortable when there has not been an offer, so to reject it before an offer is personally embarrassing.
“I think Manchester United is great, but I am still really happy here because there are around 1,000 reasons why I really like working at this club. The only condition which must be filled is that all of those involved have to have the feeling that I am the right coach for this team. As long as that is the case, I don’t have to think about anything.”
Louis van Gaal, who will be a free agent after the World Cup Finals, remains the hot favourite to be installed at Old Trafford. There are concerns, though, that because of his commitment to the Holland national side, the 62-year-old will not be available to fully focus on his potential new role until July. However, as we saw with Manuel Pellegrini at Manchester City, this may not pose a problem with transfer targets.
Ferguson, who personally recommended Moyes, is believed to favour Carlo Ancelotti. The Italian, who led Chelsea to the double in his first season in England before being sacked the following year, led Paris St Germain to the French title last term, and he has two years left on his deal at Real Madrid, who are currently competing for the treble.
Another Italian, Antonio Conte, has also been linked with the job on Friday. The 44-year-old is on the verge of leading Juventus to a third successive Serie A title, and is believed to be in the process of learning English. His relationship with former United youngster Paul Pogba, who has been linked with a return to the Reds, is also another potential plus.
A long shot would be Jose Mourinho, who was widely tipped to succeed Ferguson last summer but has always maintained the only club for him in England is Chelsea. Asked if he would consider walking out of the Stamford Bridge club to take charge at Old Trafford ahead of next season, the Portuguese coach was straight to the point.
“Of course not,” he replied. “I don’t know how somebody can think about it. I left Real Madrid to come specifically to Chelsea. I signed a four-year contract. I told Chelsea they never have to worry about me because I never want to leave. So I’m here as long as they want me to stay. No job would move me from Chelsea.”
For the immediate future, Ryan Giggs will assume first team affairs for the remainder of the season, beginning with the visit of Norwich City on Saturday. He has been joined in the coaching setup with other legends of the Class of 1992 Nicky Butt and Paul Scholes, whilst Phil Neville, who was part of Moyes’ staff, remains on the payroll.
“I have got to say it is the proudest moment of my life,” said Giggs. “I have supported United all my life and been a part of the club since I was 13. I am proud, I am happy, a little nervous and, just like playing, can’t wait for the game on Saturday. When Ed [Woodward] asked me to look after the team for the remaining four games, I had no hesitation in saying yes.”