With David Moyes' sacking at Manchester United this week came the inevitable barrage of rumored replacements.
Just about every top manager in Europe was suddenly linked with a move to United, among them the likes of Louis van Gaal, Carlo Ancelotti, Laurent Blanc and even Pep Guardiola.
Of course, Jurgen Klopp had his name thrown into the hat as well. The ear-to-ear grinning, fist-pumping miracle worker at the helm of Borussia Dortmund.
The man who has done arguably more with fewer resources than any top coach in the modern game was the go-to guy for many United supporters and press looking to put the brief but miserable Moyes era behind them.
According to Bild, as reported by the Guardian, Klopp was even a hot topic within the ranks at Manchester United in the imminent dismissal of Moyes.
Even though no concrete bid was reportedly made, Klopp was almost coerced into a response, namely the categorical dismissal of any realistic possibility of taking over for Moyes.
"Manchester United is a great club and I feel very familiar with their wonderful fans. But my commitment to Borussia Dortmund and the people is not breakable," the Dortmund manager told the Guardian.
Indeed, Klopp extended his contract with the Ruhr club until 2018 last year and has voiced the pleasure of being able to work there numerous times.
As the proverbial axe continues to fall on managers across Europe, whether in this season or in the coming seasons, Klopp's name will undoubtedly continue to be pitched.
Unlike other managers and clubs that experience or enact change often, Klopp and Dortmund's situation is quite unique, and it will be hard to imagine them being separated.
Klopp and Dortmund are a perfect match, a football-mad city and a scholar of the game with an almost boyish idealism and energy. They were almost made for each other, and it is hard to imagine these perfect circumstances coming together at any other club.
Dortmund, having experienced severe financial issues and fallen way off the path since their heyday in the late 1990s and early 2000s, put their faith in Klopp and gave an inexperienced coach almost carte blanche to turn things around.
Dortmund finished in 13th the season before Klopp took over. Klopp immediately endeared himself into the hearts of Dortmund supporters by beating Bayern Munich in the German Super Cup. Slowly but surely he began building the team in his image and Dortmund finished in the top six two years running.
Klopp brought in players like Neven Subotic, Felipe Santana and Mats Hummels to solidify the defense and went bargain shopping in the lower leagues for diamonds-in-the-rough like Sven Bender and Kevin Grosskreutz.
Instead of spending big, Klopp and Dortmund also pursued cheap and relatively unknown players abroad like Shinji Kagawa, Lucas Barrios and Robert Lewandowski. Meanwhile, performances kept on getting better and better, and the furious high-energy pressing team that we all know now was molding into shape.
Sure, there were slip-ups along the way. Dortmund were knocked out of the Cup by a third division side in his second season, and several big defeats came along with Klopp's insistence of playing his particular brand of football.
All the while, the club's directors stood behind Klopp, trusting his vision and supporting his on and off-pitch policies. Player development at academy level was emphasized, and the club invested in new and innovative training methods.
After two years in charge Dortmund were becoming increasingly difficult to play against and it all came together in his third year. The 2010-11 season was a real breakthrough for Klopp and the club. That year, Dortmund went from an up-and-coming Bundesliga side to the undisputed best club team in Germany.
Dortmund set several league records in their title-winning season in 2010-11, including the greatest points total ever amassed in league history and the longest unbeaten streak within a single league season. Best of all? Klopp did it with the youngest team to ever lift the trophy and on a shoestring budget.
When many thought that season was a one-off, he managed to improve it the following season. Klopp guided Dortmund to their first ever domestic double, famously defeating Bayern Munich 5-2 in the German Cup final.
Klopp and Dortmund spent a net of a little over eight million Euros in his first three seasons to assemble back-to-back league titles. Instead of reinforcing the team with expensive players to defend their first title, Klopp looked within the league for cheaper options and promoted from within.
The only thing left to do was to transfer their domestic dominance onto the European stage, and the season after they did just that. Originally drawn into the "Group of Death," Dortmund went on an incredible run all the way to the Champions League final.
There they lost to Bayern Munich but by then had won over Europe and truly returned the club to one of Europe's elite. Klopp had reached the top and he did it his way. Throughout Dortmund's meteoric rise, Klopp has always remained the coolest customer and never seems to let any situation faze him.
It is hard to imagine any other environment where Klopp's charismatic, relaxed larger-than-life personality would thrive as it does in Dortmund. Klopp's cool persona is very much reflected in his team and how his players conduct themselves on the pitch. It reverberates through the stadium on matchday.
There is a synchronicity at Dortmund that simply does not exist elsewhere, and Klopp is the heartbeat.
So when Klopp tells Dortmund fans, "No one needs to worry. We are still a bit in love with this club and with the way things are handled here," he means it. It is a statement of intent and commitment.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!