Old Trafford rejected
Why Klopp turned down chance to manage United
Jurgen Klopp turned down the chance to become the manager of Manchester United in 2013 when Sir Alex Ferguson retired.
The then Borussia Dortmund coach had been sounded out about the possibility of becoming Sir Alex’s successor the month before his retirement was announced but stunned the United hierarchy by informing them that he wanted to stay in Germany to try to knock Bayern Munich off their perch after they had taken back the Bundesliga title from him.
United told Klopp that it was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity with them and that he would not have the resources to challenge Bayern, who were reasserting their dominance of the German game. But Klopp said he was committed to Dortmund and the timing was not right for him.
Bayern had announced that January that Pep Guardiola – who United had also sounded out informally during his sabbatical – would be taking over the following season and Klopp wanted to challenge him.
Klopp then signed a contract extension with Dortmund taking him up to 2018 but he quit at the end of the 2014-15 season. He took over at Liverpool that October following the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers and will, of course, be in the home dug out at
Anfield for tomorrow’s Premier League fixture against
The story has resurfaced following an interview this week in which Eckhard Krautzun, who briefly managed Klopp at the German club Mainz with Klopp eventually succeeding him in 2001, claimed that the former defender’s ultimate ambition had been to manage United. Krautzun claimed the pair had stayed in touch over the years and told the Set Pieces website: “When it comes to his favourite club, however, Liverpool weren’t always number one. It would be his dream to go to England one day and his favourite club would be [Manchester] United. That’s what he said.”
Krautzun also said he was a friend of Sir Alex, having met him at a coaching seminar in the 1970s, and had talked up Klopp to him. “I said ‘Jurgen Klopp, if he goes abroad, he goes to England, his love would be Manchester United’.”
However, senior sources at United have confirmed to The Daily Telegraph that Klopp had his chance four years ago when they
were considering what to do in the event of Sir Alex’s retirement.
Although David Moyes was quickly appointed after Sir Alex’s announcement, with the declaration that he was “The Chosen One”, the Scot was hired only after United had sounded out, with varying degrees of formality, a number of candidates: Klopp, Pep Guardiola, Carlo Ancelotti and Mourinho – although it depends on who you believe as to whether they really wanted him at that time.
Some sources claim that Mourinho was correct in stating he had already decided on a return to Chelsea, while others suggest senior figures at United then had their reservations about him and were hesitant. Louis van Gaal, who took over from Moyes, was also considered but he was committed to taking Holland to the 2014 World Cup, while Ancelotti was heading from Paris St-germain to Real Madrid as Mourinho’s successor.
But Klopp certainly figured prominently in United’s thinking, having won back-to-back Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012 and taking Dortmund to the Champions League final at Wembley in 2013, where they lost to Bayern.
Sir Alex was impressed by Klopp’s style and character and felt he had a big enough personality to succeed at United. He also endorsed Mourinho and was heavily involved in the eventual choice of Moyes.
Different path: Jurgen Klopp is now at Anfield