We’ve been here before, haven’t we. Another so-called crisis that results in speculation linking every Tom, Dick and Jurgen with replacing Arsene Wenger at Arsenal.
Granted, Jurgen Klopp’s CV is a little bit more impressive than others who have been linked with the job – now and in the past. Remember Owen Coyle? – but The Gooner takes a look at why the German may not be fit to lace Wenger’s loafers, let alone take his job.
Our perceptions of Klopp as a football manager are based on trophies that he won with a team of players who are slowly being plucked away from Dortmund. His current predicament ought to prove how difficult it is to replace key players and maintain a certain level of competitiveness – something Arsenal have achieved.
Three months after losing Robert Lewandowski and Dortmund are already competing at the wrong end of the Bundesliga table. They’re 16th, with one win in their last nine league outings. Why is there such an urgency to recruit a man who has overseen a far bigger crisis than Arsenal’s?
Lewandowski is a massive loss because he’s a fine striker, but so is Robin van Persie and as far as I can tell we have not actually regressed in the wake of selling him.
We won a trophy within two years of losing our talismanic striker, secured top-four finishes in both seasons and recorded better points totals in those two campaigns since selling him compared to his last season with us.
And that’s just Van Persie. What about the dozen or so instrumental players we’ve lost over the years and still managed to do alright without them? We suffered in certain areas without these players but as a team we adapted and still managed to do alright.
Klopp achieved certain things with a certain team, but the bigger they grew the harder it would be to retain those influential players amid the lure of Bayern Munich.
Consequently, he was forced to sell Mario Gotze to Bayern and very admirably the club kept Lewandowski to the remainder of his deal because, unlike one club I can think of, they wouldn’t sell to their biggest rivals for a second successive year out of respect for the fans.
But this is where Klopp’s managerial mettle is tested because he is now faced with the task of rebuilding a team that manages to remain somewhat competitive – and he is failing at the moment.
Wenger has a list of flaws as long as his famous jacket but we should really appreciate this element of his tenure. He has excelled at something that is currently proving too big of a job for Klopp.