Barcelona are reportedly set to make an approach to appoint Jurgen Klopp as their next manager amid claims of a change of heart over his future – but any move to the Nou Camp must clear a major roadblock put in place by FSG.
The German stunned the football world last month by announcing his intention to walk away the Anfield hotseat after close to nine glorious years at the end of the current campaign. Having led Liverpool to six major trophies during his tenure, Klopp will be fondly remembered as one of the best – and charismatic – managers in their history.
Quite whom the Reds appoint next will prove a critical choice for their American owners FSG and getting this call right is arguably the most important one they have faced during their 14-year reign in charge.
To aid their chances of getting this one right, FSG have appointed a man regarded as the world’s greatest leader to ensure that choice proves as successful as possible.
In the meantime, speculation has also risen over which job Klopp will take on next.
That’s despite the German making it clear that he intends to take a break from the game having run out of energy after giving the Reds job his all over the past eight and a half years.
Indeed, in announcing his decision to step down, Klopp revealed his wish to enjoy a ‘normal life’ with the luxury mansion he owns on the island of Majorca seen as a perfect retreat for the German and his wife, Ulla Sandrock, to escape media attention and recharge those batteries.
Klopp has given several clues over needing a rest after Liverpool
Indeed, an analysis of Klopp’s comments over the years strongly suggest that the 56-year-old was indeed being entirely truthful over the factors behind his decision to quit.
The first ‘warning’ signs came back in 2019 when, speaking to Kicker magazine in his homeland, Klopp declared: “I have absolute energy. But I have one problem. I can’t do ‘a little bit’. I can only do ‘all or nothing’. When I decide that I cannot do it any longer then I will take a break for a year.”
Then in 2020, during an interview with SportsBuzzer, Klopp also let on about the importance of recharging his batteries, commenting: “I’ll take a year off and ask myself if I miss football. If I say no, then that will be the end of coach Jurgen Klopp.”
Hinting again at life away from Liverpool, Klopp then told Einfach Fussbal in September 2020 “When I leave Liverpool, I won’t take a new job the next day. That’s for sure. I will take a one-year break after Liverpool.”
As a result, and while Klopp’s exit interview will have come as a shock to many, perhaps a deeper dive into the history of those comments suggests the inevitable was coming at some point in the not-too-distant future.
Since news of Klopp’s exit became public knowledge – and don’t forget FSG have known of those intentions since November – the charismatic German has since been linked with the Barcelona vacancy.
By pure coincidence – or perhaps not (!) – their coach Xavi also announced his intentions to step down too at the end of the current campaign.
As a result, it’s little surprise to see many put two and two together and suggest Klopp to Barcelona now looks a strong possibility.
Klopp U-turn on future claimed as Barcelona roadblock is revealed
The chances of him moving to Catalonia, meanwhile, have not exactly been talked down by Deco, with the Barcelona sporting director, while insisting the time is not right to discuss the possibility of Klopp, has also made clear his admiration for the German.
And now reports in the Spanish media claim Barca’s wish to appoint Klopp as Xavi’s successor is gathering pace by the day and that the reigning LaLiga giants are preparing an official approach his entourage over the prospect of him taking on the job.
They believe that his fondness of life in Spain – again citing that Majorcan villa he owns – together with the challenge of taking on one of the world’s biggest jobs, could be enough to persude Klopp to abandon his plans to take a year off.
That narrative is also being talked up by journalist Gerard Moreno, who has suggested on Twitch that the prospect of succeeding Xavi is of genuine interest to Klopp and that a major U-turn on his decision to take a year out of the game could well become a very real possibility.
If Barcelona are to appoint him as their new coach, however, it’s reported that the Catalonians are going to have to go through Liverpool first.
Indeed, that’s after claims in Spanish daily Sport that, owing to the terms negotiated in his release from his Liverpool contract, Klopp has agreed he will not take on any other role for 12 calendar months from the date of his exit.
As it stands, it means we won’t see Klopp back in a management role until July 1, 2025 at the earliest and if the German stays true to his word.
Barcelona chief Laporta sees appointment as ‘dream signing’
However, Sport are adamant there is an opening there for Barcelona and president Joan Laporta sees it as a ‘great challenge’ to try and hire him.
Furthermore, the Barca chief has also made clear to Klopp’s people that he sees Klopp as his ‘dream signing’ and that he believes he will ‘accept his proposal’.
Quite how Liverpool would react to an approach from Barcelona in seeking permission to appoint Klopp as Xavi’s heir remains to be seen. Furthermore, there could yet be clauses in his breakaway from Anfield that could yet see Barca needing to stump up some sort of compensation.
Klopp deal at Anfield had been scheduled to end on June 30, 2026, prior to his exit announcement.