Thursday 13 December 2018

Premier League clubs shape up for Jurgen Klopp battle

Borussia Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp
Borussia Dortmund's head coach Juergen Klopp

Jurgen Klopp has put Premier League clubs on alert after announcing he will leave Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season.

The highly-rated coach will end his seven-year spell at the Westfalenstadion in the summer after the club agreed to release him early from his contract and he has been installed as favourite to replace the under-fire Manuel Pellegrini (right) at Manchester City.

The charismatic German revealed he had had no contact with any clubs, but stressed he did not plan to take an extended time-out from the game.

READ MORE: Klopp: 'I am no longer the prefect coach for this club'

Klopp, a passionate and energetic coach, said he was not tired and added: “I believe this is the right decision at the right time.

“I have not had any contact with any other clubs, nor do I have any plans to take a sabbatical.”

The 47-year-old spoke with a heavy heart at a lunchtime press conference alongside Dortmund chief executive Hans-Joachim Watzke and the club’s sporting director Michael Zorc.

READ MORE: Jurgen Kloop leaves Borussia Dortmund: 'I won't be taking a sabbatical'

Klopp has enjoyed a hugely successful spell in charge since taking over in 2008, leading the club to two Bundesliga titles, DFB-Pokal success and the Champions League final.

This season has been more of a struggle, with the club battling it out at the bottom end of the league for much of the campaign and currently sitting 10th.

READ MORE: READ MORE: Move over Mourinho: Why Jurgen Kloop would be perfect for the Premier League

But Klopp said his decision was not down to the struggles this term.

An emotional Klopp embraced Watzke at the start of the press conference.

Watzke said that the club had held talks with Klopp over the last few days at the coach’s request and come to an agreement.

Klopp added: “I have in the last weeks and days asked myself if I was still the right manager and I wasn’t sure. I couldn’t answer with a yes.”

Zorc thanked Klopp for all he had achieved in his seven years at the club, saying: “We have written football history with you, Jurgen. You have given the club much energy and optimism.”

The coach has transformed Dortmund since taking over from Thomas Doll in 2008 after making his name at Mainz, the club where he spent his entire playing career.

Klopp has long been linked with a move to the Premier League and Manchester City are the favourites to be his next destination, Pellegrini having come under mounting pressure as his side’s title hopes have faded. City were thrashed 4-2 in the Manchester derby on Sunday.

Arsenal have previously been suggested as a possible destination for Klopp, but it is understood the Emirates Stadium club remain fully behind current manager Arsene Wenger, who still has two seasons left on a contract extension signed last summer.

Klopp has six Bundesliga matches left in charge of Dortmund this season as well as a DFB-Pokal semi-final against Bayern Munich.

German newspaper Bild reported that former Mainz coach Thomas Tuchel was in the frame to take over.

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