We are in an era where loyalty weighs less than substantial pay offers and trophy-collection possibilities. It definitely sounds ridiculous to pitch the idea of staying in a club where you know, with virtual certainty that you’re not going to win championships with them.
It is even more preposterous when you get offers from trophy-winning clubs but choose to stay in a team that’s going to be trophy-less for quite some time.
People play football to win, an absolutely understandable notion. But then, what if you’re playing for a club with reasonable chances of winning but elect to depart anyways? Would it be too much to expect a certain degree of faithfulness then?
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What Jurgen Klopp is to Borussia Dortmund is like what Arsene Wenger is to Arsenal.
Klopp played for one club in his senior years before subsequently progressing to manage the same club. After that, it is Dortmund till date. Of course, Wenger on the other hand had a few more playing clubs, and teams he had managed before Arsenal.
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Klopp *is* Borussia Dortmund
However, the point is Klopp and Wenger are more than just managers in their respective clubs. It often feels like they have some kind of invisible thread of love and attachment that they have delicately woven into the fabric of their clubs.
Though it’s not visible to the naked eye, you could feel something extraordinary is present in their relationships with their squads. They give the feeling that it’s not about rampant bulldozing into instant victories with them. It’s about the beautiful game of football, it’s about something beyond silver collectibles.
Hence is the feeling of ‘oh, how I wish Klopp stays!’ At least till his contract expires in mid-2018. Both Klopp and Wenger possess the rare qualities of being eccentric, enigmatic, enthralling football geniuses. Klopp took over the 13th-placed Dortmund in 2008 to subsequently secure two consecutive Bundesliga titles in 2011 and 2012.
The latter title was secured with the greatest points tally ever accumulated in Bundesliga history. Besides, there are also the 2012’s German Cup, the Supercups in 2013 and 2014 and a Champions League final, which adds to the feathers in his fancy cap. All these achievements in seven years, he got to be the coolest manager. But who said life would be a bed of roses all the time?
Dortmund, though began their current season by defeating Bayern Munich in the Supercup, it was not enough to inspire the squad to a solid league start. By winter last year, they fell to the bottom of the table, but managed to escape the relegation zone after February.
Everything took its toll on Klopp
However, is it reason enough for Klopp to resign? Dortmund’s subdued performances sure did take a toll on his confidence, as he conceded that he longer saw himself deserving of a position to manage the squad. He told reporters last month: “I chose this time to announce it because in the last few years some player decisions were made late and there was no time to react.”
He was referring to players Mario Gotze and Robert Lewandowski, whose departures in the last two years had affected the team. Gotze is a product of Dortmund’s youth academy and went on to play a key role as Dortmund won back-to-back Bundesliga crowns.
What Klopp probably meant by there being no time to react for his departure was that in his final season at Dortmund, Gotze had formed a rather formidable partnership with teammate Marco Reus.
Subsequently, when the prolific striker Lewandowski too left, it shook-up the team a little. They were important players and adding to this then were the injury spells of Reus and centre back, Mats Hummels.
Mario Gotze transfer
Further, the circumstances in which Gotze left Dortmund was rather brutal. He triggered his release clause to leave Dortmund for Bayern when he was playing an instrumental role in Dortmund’s triumphs.
His departure did more damage than Lewandowski’s or any other players’ for that matter, because he was almost literally, the heartbeat of the team. He was seen as the future of Dortmund and ultimately, the future of German’s national team. Franz Beckenbauer even went on record to say he is ‘the Lionel Messi of Germany’.
In addition, he was leaving for a rival team, who Dortmund would eventually encounter in the Champions League final and his parting news broke less than 24 hours before their second leg semi-final clash against Real Madrid. All these, stringing together, made matters worse.
The transfer fee, which was an immense amount of £31.5 million did not feel like a consolation but instead added insult to the injury.
Even though Klopp claimed that the reason behind Gotze’s move was the playmaker’s aspiration to play under manager Pep Guardiola, it did not come across as a convincing motive. Why? He wants to learn the art of tiki-taka with Guardiola? Probably yes, but where does the value of loyalty stand here then?
On one hand is Dortmund, your club, you’re winning leagues and trophies with it, the manager is arguably the most amazing one of all managers, whilst on the other is Bayern, offering a hefty sum of money, a rather equal chance of winning and purportedly with a manager you’re dying to work with. I do not see any overwhelming reason for Gotze to leave but for the money.
Either that or Dortmund is still not seen as being there among the top clubs in the world. Because, then it would be a choice of contributing to the club to get it there or to leave for a club which is already there, and Gotze left.
All these consequently created some sort of chaos in the team formation and now it is Klopp’s turn to leave because he thinks he’s not good enough for the team. He probably blames himself for not being able to pull Dortmund together after the heartbreak.
All said and done, the day is here, in the horizon, where Klopp and Dortmund are going to part ways. I wish for a miracle that would make Klopp stay. Reus extended his contract till 2019. It shouldn't be that bad, should it?
They could still make it to the Europa League next season, win the German Cup and the Supercup. All is not lost. Dortmund is a great team and Klopp is the best man to lead them.