• Borussia Dortmund coach laughs off reports of approaches
• Dortmund's Nuri Sahin came 'very close' to joining Arsenal
The Borussia Dortmund manager Jürgen Klopp has flatly denied telling a British newspaper that he was approached to manage either Manchester City or Chelsea during the close season, at the same Champions League press conference in which his midfielder Nuri Sahin revealed that he has come "very close" to joining Arsenal on no fewer than three separate occasions.
The pair were talking before the Champions League game between last year's beaten finalists and the Premier League leaders at the Emirates, and when the question of City and Chelsea's apparent overtures towards the popular German manager was inevitably raised, he laughed with faux exasperation while dramatically shaking his head for comic effect.
"I think it was a summary of everything I said, because I never said I had offers from these two clubs," he said. "I am 46 and in some cases of life it's not so young and in some cases it's young enough. I have to work and I want to work for a few more years and maybe in the future when my English is better, maybe then I will come to England. The grass isn't always greener and my biggest skill is to see luck when I have it. So I don't think about different clubs and I never said the name of one or the other."
By contrast, Arsenal fans who are currently happy but remain anxious to see their manager delve into the club coffers may be displeased to learn that their club has notched up a hat-trick of failures in their efforts to sign Sahin, the Turkish international on a successful loan spell at Dortmund from Real Madrid. He is a player with Premier League previous, having spent six months at Liverpool, during which he failed to impress and endured a fractious relationship with his manager Brendan Rodgers. For all that, he denies his spell on Merseyside was an unhappy time.
"It was very close, three times in my career I was almost at Arsenal," he said. "It never happened but that's normal in football. When I was 16, the first time … second time, I don't remember and last summer I spoke with Arsenal but at the end I signed with Liverpool. My time at Liverpool was a good time for me, to be part of a great club like Liverpool with such a great history and great players. The club took care of me and my family; I am full of respect for Liverpool."
Dortmund are in second place in the Bundesliga one point behind Bayern Munich but go into a potentially thrilling contest on the back of an unimpressive victory against Hannover last weekend. They will have to play without touchline guidance from their manager, who must sit out the second game of a two-match ban. Although summer signings Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Henrikh Mkhitaryan are expected to feature, the German side will also have to make do without their injured captain Sebastian Kehl and the playmaker Ilkay Gündogan, as well as a long-term absentee, the full-back Lukasz Piszczek.