Darren Lewis and Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror are today reporting that Jurgen Klopp is the Manchester United hierarchy’s preferred replacement for David Moyes, should the unsuccessful Scot be asked to step aside this summer.
The Mirror article states "United believe [Klopp's] aggressive brand of football and up-front managerial style is exactly what is needed after the debacle of Moyes’ first season."
Whilst United have also been linked with Louis van Gaal, per David McDonnell in the Mirror, it is Klopp who would represent the truly exciting option for United fans.
It may yet be too early to take for granted that Moyes' appointment was a mistake. However, the above-mentioned articles certainly suggest that the United board are seriously considering their options. If they are, then they should move heaven and earth to get Klopp.
I come for free to Dortmund
When Zlatan Ibrahimovic bumped into Klopp at the Ballon d'Or celebrations earlier this year, the Swede made his affections for the German's Dortmund team clear. It is typical of how Klopp is perceived in the game. Klopp may say that "crazy players love me," per The Telegraph, but the evidence of his side's work rate on the pitch suggests it is not just the crazy ones who feel affection for him.
Klopp's Dortmund side have been phenomenally successful; certainly his achievements in the game dwarf Moyes'. Borussia Dortmund won the Bundesliga in the 2010/11 season. They won the domestic double in 2011/12. Last season saw them cast as nearly-men, as they finished runner-up to Bayern Munich in both the Bundesliga and the Champions League.
This season has been less successful. Having lost Mario Gotze to Munich in the summer, and with Robert Lewandowski set to join him next year, per BBC Sport, Dortmund's injury-ravaged squad have been a distant second best to Pep Guardiola's rampant side.
Given Munich's proclivity for buying Borussia's best players, it is increasingly easy to see the prospect of a new challenge in Manchester as being appealing to Klopp.
Klopp should certainly be appealing to United. Dortmund did not just succeed under him; they succeeded in wonderful style.
The side which won two Bundesligas, built around the talents of Shinji Kagawa, was phenomenal to watch. Quick in the transition, devastating on the counter-attack, and fierce when the opposition had the ball, the "gegenpressing" style was analysed in September 2013 by Bleacher Report's Clark Whitney.
One of the knocks against Moyes has been his use of his more creative players. This would not be a problem under Klopp, who consistently got the best out of Gotze, Kagawa and latterly, Marco Reus.
This highly effective attacking play did not mean Dortmund sacrificed their defensive duties. In 2010/11 they conceded 22 goals in the 34-game Bundesliga season. In 2011/12 it was 25. This has been more of a problem in the past two seasons, although injuries have certainly played their part in that. By necessity, Dortmund's squad is leaner than their rivals.
A fiery, committed, innovative manager, fond of counter-attacking football? Now there is a man actually cut from similar cloth to Sir Alex Ferguson.
Klopp would not bring guaranteed success to United. He is unproven outside Germany, although Dortmund's Champions League record is impressive enough to suggest he could adapt.
His record with youth players has been mixed. Most of Dortmund's squad have been bought in, at a young age, but not through the academy.
He has also not been able to find a way to counter Bayern's dominance in the past two seasons, although given the relative financial clout of the two clubs, that is understandable.
United were prepared to gamble on an unproven manager last summer. This summer they should gamble on one who is thoroughly proven in a different country, and hope he brings his swaggering brand of success to Old Trafford. After Moyes' uninspiring first season, it could be just the tonic United need.
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