Julian Nagelsmann Discusses Barcelona, Turning Down Dortmund, Erling Haaland

Gianni Verschueren@ReverschPassFeatured ColumnistDecember 8, 2019

Leipzig's German headcoach Julian Nagelsmann watches the warm up session before the German first division Bundesliga football match RB Leipzig v Hoffenheim in Leipzig on December 7, 2019. (Photo by Odd ANDERSEN / AFP) / DFL REGULATIONS PROHIBIT ANY USE OF PHOTOGRAPHS AS IMAGE SEQUENCES AND/OR QUASI-VIDEO (Photo by ODD ANDERSEN/AFP via Getty Images)

RB Leipzig manager Julian Nagelsmann had opened the door to coaching Barcelona one day, while also revealing he turned down Borussia Dortmund and casting doubt on a January move for Erling Braut Haaland.

The 32-year-old sat down with ZDF (h/t Goal's Robin Bairner) for a lengthy interview. When asked about Barcelona, he said he previously made it clear the club and city would intrigue him: "I've said many times: Barcelona is a beautiful city, a beautiful club. But they are not the only club that is attractive."

Jens Meyer/Associated Press

The former Hoffenheim boss also discussed turning down Dortmund, explaining the timing wasn't right:

"It’s true there was interest there. In football, timing and fit is always the key, and it just did not fit, so I didn’t go there.

"The time did not fit and BVB did not want to wait. I was at Hoffenheim under contract, there was a clause―I could only leave in 2019. When that clause took effect, there was no position free in Dortmund.

"I had very good talks with Leipzig. I felt that the club really wanted me."

Nagelsmann is among the top young coaches in the sport and joined Leipzig in the summer after an impressive stint with Hoffenheim.

The Red Bulls currently sit in second place in the Bundesliga, a single point behind Borussia Monchengladbach. They have scored more goals than any team in the division and are winners of five straight. The last win came against his old club Hoffenheim:

Dortmund sit four points behind Leipzig, but per Bairner, their coach Lucien Favre is under some pressure due to their inconsistency this season.

Bayern Munich sit in seventh place after a poor start to the season, and they have already parted ways with their coach Niko Kovac.

Nagelsmann was also asked about Red Bull Salzburg sensation Haaland, who has been linked with a January move to several top clubs.

MARIA ENZERSDORF, AUSTRIA - DECEMBER 1: Erling Braut Haaland of Salzburg during the tipico Bundesliga match between FC Flyeralarm Admira and FC Red Bull Salzburg at BFSZ-Arena on December 1, 2019 in Maria Enzersdorf, Austria. (Photo by Markus Tobisch/SEPA
Markus Tobisch/Getty Images

Salzburg is a sister club to Leipzig, and more than a dozen players have made the move from Austria to Germany the last few seasons, but for now there are no indications the Norwegian will follow suit: "Of course I would take him. He is a very good striker. He is physically very good, has a very good presence, he is also capable of not only scoring goals but setting them up. Unfortunately, we have nothing to announce."

When asked if a January deal will happen, he said: "I would not comment on that if that were the case. But I don't think so."

Sports writer Kaustubh Pandey believes Leipzig would be the ideal destination for the forward:

Kaustubh Pandey @Kaus_Pandey17

Leipzig will be the best place for Haaland. The continuity in systems is so evident. Marsch and Nagelsmann have similar styles and so do Leipzig and Salzburg. That continuity helps massively in a player's development. Kudos to Haaland, if he takes this mature decision.

Like Haaland, Nagelsmann has been linked with moves to other top clubs. Football.london's Josh Challies reported on Arsenal's interest, and per Adrian Kajumba of the Daily Mail, Manchester United are keeping an eye on him as well.