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Sunil Gulati: Jurgen Klinsmann’s deal not solely to fend off Tottenham

Dec 17, 2013, 8:43 AM EDT

Jurgen Klinsmann AP

President of US Soccer, Sunil Gulati, said that Jurgen Klinsmann’s new contract was not given solely to fend off interest from Tottenham and Switzerland.

Following Tottenham’s sacking of Andre Villas-Boas on Monday a laundry list of candidates quickly emerged including Tim Sherwood, Guus Hiddink, Fabio Capello, Mauricio Pochettino, Michael Laudrup and Frank de Boer, as well as former Spurs players Klinsmann and Glenn Hoddle.

Almost immediately, that list began to shrink as Hiddink’s agent ruled him out due to his post-World Cup commitment to Holland and Laudrup’s representative insisted he was committed to staying at Swansea until the end of the season.

On Tuesday, Klinsmann followed suit through Gulati who explained that the German coach’s new four-year deal should remove any doubt of his immediate future. Gulati also admitted despite notice of interest from the likes of Tottenham and Switzerland, who are looking for Ottmar Hitzfeld’s long-term successor, that was not the primary motive in getting the deal done.

“On a specific level, none of those things were critical to us,” said Gulati. “The desire to make sure we had a long-term commitment from Jurgen, and he had one from us, was part of it, and market dynamic does dictate some of that.

“So we’re not oblivious to the fact that Jurgen over the last two years has had an extraordinary run with the national team and that would bring a lot of interest from the outside.

“Sure, some of that matters, but not specifically the Switzerland or Tottenham issues, but generally a coach that has done very well, that has an international reputation, who speaks multiple languages would be sought after.”

More: Klinsmann extends contract with US Soccer

Following news of Klinsmann’s new deal December 12th most US Soccer fans were in good spirits although as Pro Soccer Talk’s Steve Davis explained, the timing didn’t look quite right. Questions remained: Wouldn’t it make more sense to address all this after the World Cup? Won’t U.S. Soccer look pretty bad in the unlikely event that things fall completely to pieces next summer in Brazil?

Perhaps now, with Villas-Boas’ sacking and reflection upon Gulati’s carefully chosen words, those questions come closer to being answered. Namely, a number of managerial positions have opened up recently and will continue to open from now until the end of the club season.

And, given Klinsmann’s managerial accomplishments and notoriety, US Soccer couldn’t afford not to lock down the man who reinvented the national team and punched the Yanks ticket to Brazil.

  1. lyleoross - Dec 17, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    Questions remained: Wouldn’t it make more sense to address all this after the World Cup? Won’t U.S. Soccer look pretty bad in the unlikely event that things fall completely to pieces next summer in Brazil?

    Argggghhhhh!!! Someone needs to take an adult pill. By my measure, things are most assuredly going to fall apart next summer. We are playing Portugal, Germany and a rather strong Ghana. The people who worry about these things need to get off the pipe dream. That said, this is no reason to judge JK. What he has accomplished, both in terms of the MNT, and development in this country is phenomenal. He’s earned another four years, period. Judging him by the unlucky draw we got is ludicrous. Enjoy the World Cup, support the U.S. despite that all to great possibility they will be skunked, and keep building under the auspices of a coach that has greater vision for the sport in this country than any before him.

  2. talgrath - Dec 17, 2013 at 2:57 PM

    I don’t think Klinsmann was going to leave without the new four year deal though, he seems pretty invested in making the USMNT good and he’s been given a lot of autonomy (at least, so it seems), making decisions like not calling up Donovan until he worked his way back in. With Switzerland or Tottenham and the European press Klinsmann would have not been able to experiment and tweak the way he has here in the US.

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