Jurgen Klinsmann is a German manager currently in charge of the United States national team (USMNT) who has less than 12 months of experience managing a club team -- so, why exactly is he being linked to Everton?
The rumblings started with a tweet from BT Sport and ESPN's Ian Darke, who suggested that there were "Persistent Merseyside rumors that USA coach Jurgen Klinsmann could be next Everton manager," on Twitter. Klinsmann responded on Twitter unequivocally denying the rumors, and Darke has since deleted his original tweet.
Darke still maintained that the rumors decidedly persist though:
Jurgen Klinsmann denies Everton rumours. So maybe smoke and no fire here. Was only saying there IS smoke on Merseyside.— Ian Darke (@IanDarke) April 14, 2016
That there is smoke in Goodison Park is nor surprise, with the amount of fume coming fromt he Blue half of Merseyside. So, who exactly is Jurgen Klinsmann and how might he fit in at Everton Football Club?
Klinsmann is currently the manager of the United States national team, where public opinion on him is deteriorating by the day. Klinsmann's first World Cup cycle with the USMNT was an overall success, with the Americans finishing first in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying, winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and making it to the knockout stage of the World Cup despite being drawn into the Group of Death.
Results in friendlies between the end of the World Cup and last summer were a mixed bag, with highlights including wins in Europe over Netherlands and Germany.
Since then though, things have gone downhill for Klinsmann and the US national team. The Americans finished a miserable fourth in the Gold Cup over the summer, barely squeaking out home wins against Honduras and Haiti, before losing to Jamaica in the semi-finals and Panama in the third-place game. Klinsmann's team subsequently lost the CONCACAF Cup against Mexico, missing out on an opportunity to participate in the 2017 Confederation's Cup.
The USMNT's start to 2018 World Cup qualifying has been equally rocky and included a 2-0 loss at Guatemala and a 0-0 draw at Trinidad and Tobago.
Klinsmann got his managerial start in charge of the German national team, where he was hired in 2004. His youth-first, offense-first style earned him a fair number of critics, who he managed to silence by leading the Germans to the World Cup semi-finals in 2006. After the 2006 World Cup, he stepped down in order to spend more time with his family.
His only experience managing a club came in 2008-09, when he was in charge of Bayern Munich. Despite having a talented team which included Phillip Lahm, Luca Toni, Miroslav Klose, Lucas Podolski, Franck RIbery, Lucio, Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Ze Roberto, Bayern sat outside an automatic Champions League place with just four weeks to go in the season.
Klinsmann had taken over as coach from Ottmar Hitzfeld, and helped design a new player development and performance center for Bayern. Under his guidance, Bayern reached the quarter final of the Champions League, losing to eventual champion FC Barcelona. He was was sacked on 27 April 2009 with five matches remaining after a string of underwhelming results. Bayern Munich's CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge later expressed in an interview that it was a mistake to fire Klinsmann at the time. Under caretaker coach Jupp Heynckes, the club finsihed the Bundesliga season in second place.
It is difficult to get a full grasp on what Klinsmann's transfer plans would look like, as in his 9 months in charge of a club, he brought in only two players, German midfielder Tim Borowski and American attacker Landon Donovan on loan (ironically enough, given that Klinsmann essentially ended Donovan's international career ahead of the 2014 World Cup).
With the United States, his player selection has been puzzling at times, a potential cause of concern were he to be given free rein of Everton's recently expanded finances. He has gone through back-line combinations at the speed of light, yet has failed to find anything that regularly keeps the ball out of his own net. That will be a warning flag considering how much stick Martinez has received for his porous defence.
Klinsmann has been willing to take chances on young attackers, with Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood at the top of that list. Given that both players were far off most people's radars when he called them into the team, and they have had success since, there is reason to be hopeful that Klinsmann might be able to bring young, attacking talent to the club for a reasonable price.
Klinsmann had promised to bring an attractive, attacking style of football to the USMNT, a promise which he simply hasn't been able to follow through on. Against mid-tier or top teams, Klinsmann's side still cannot control possession at all.
The team's attempted commitment to play more attacking football has often led to defensive breakdowns, compounded by the country's lack of top defensive talent. Sound familiar?
Perhaps the most frustrating aspect of Klinsmann's philosophy has been his incomprehensible favoritism toward certain players, despite their struggles for both club and country and an excess of available alternatives.
Ian Darke is no random Twitter personality out for followers and notoriety, so I'm inclined to believe that at least the rumors do exist to a certain extent. Even if Klinsmann is on the list though, it is hard to see Everton's ownership choosing the German over some of the highly experienced managers who are currently available.
Klinsmann had success with Germany at the 2006 World Cup, but his managerial record since then is mediocre at best. It has been nearly 10 years since he last managed a club, which was one with a completely different set of resources and expectations from that which he would have at Everton.
Particularly given Everton's defensive struggles this season and Klinsmann's history of neglecting defense, he simply seems like a poor fit.