Jurgen Klopp this week announced he is to leave Borrussia Dortmund – and signaled his intention to manager in the Premier League.
The 47-year-old has had success in Germany having twice won the Bundesliga and reached the Champions League final.
But can the charismatic really coach cut it in the world’s most competitive league?
With bookies making him favourite to replace Manuel Pelligrini at Manchester City, it would be tough job to emulate his success.
Klopp, despite being a relatively big name manager, has relatively little managerial experience – in terms of the number of teams he has managed and the different countries he has worked in. Having spent his entire playing career at mid-table German side FSV Mainz 05 from 1989 – 2001 where he made 337 appearances and scored 52 goals, he went straight into management at the same club. Having got the side promoted then relegated, he resigned to join Dortmund where he has been manger since 2008.
This limited experience makes it a real possibility that Klopp lacks the skills to cope with the demands of the Premier League, its big name players, a higher tempo of football and more games per season. After all, unlike Germany, there is not a lengthy Winter break. Quite the opposite – more games are crammed into the festive period, and it is a test of fitness and squad depth.
What’s more, the Premier League has far more money tied up in it than the Bundesliga, which is due to higher ticket prices, sponsors and TV packages. This all adds to the pressure on managers and players. Compare this to Germany, which has some of the lowest ticket prices in Europe, and the contrast couldn’t be greater.
Further more, Klopp spent long, stable periods in charge of both his previous teams. However, with such enormous pressure, the shelf-life of managers in the UK is also a lot less than in Germany. It’s unlikely he would be afforded the luxury of six months – let alone a year – to start getting results.
If Klopp can overcome all of these factors his brand of attacking football would surely fit in.
His financial discipline would be a welcome change to Manchester City, who have been accused of overspending since they were taken over by Sheikh Mansour and – like the rest of teams in the Premier League – will need to operate within the Financial Fair Play rules.
On this front, Klopp – who has a sound reputation for developing players – would be an asset to City, who need to begin nurturing youth players at their academy if they are to replace their ageing squad without breaking the bank. Another positive for Klopp is that he has already beaten Arsenal in the Champions League – proving that he can compete with the best in Britain.
Hiring any new manager is a gamble, but one who has only managed at two teams previously – in a vastly different and less competitive league – could prove his main fragility. And in the short term, it’s highly likely that any new team he joins, especially City whose form has been atrocious at the tail end of this 2014 / 2015 season, would have a difficult spell similar to how Manchester United were heavily criticised for large spells under their new boss Louis Van Gaal.
But if Klopp is given the time to implement his own changes and style of play, over the course of the first season, he should be able to adapt and overcome the challenge of managing in the world’s most competitive league.