Hans-Joachim Watzke revealed that he attempted to convince Jurgen Klopp to quit Liverpool for a surprise return to Borussia Dortmund in 2018.
Klopp got his big break in football management at Dortmund, where he won two Bundesliga titles and reached the Champions League final in seven years before ending up at Liverpool in 2015.
The 52-year-old’s reputation has since soared at Anfield upon leading the Reds to Champions League glory last season. He may also lead them to their first league title since 1990 this term, with Liverpool boasting an eight-point lead at the top of the Premier League standings.
But things could’ve turned out quite differently had Watzke managed to convince Klopp to leave Liverpool for Dortmund last summer.
However, BVB eventually appointed Lucien Favre as Peter Stoger’s replacement instead.
“I knew that Jurgen would [decline], that he will fulfil his contract in Liverpool,” the Dortmund CEO wrote in his new book REAL LOVE. A life with BVB.
“Jurgen has always fulfilled his contracts, but if you want to go new ways and we had to break new ground at BVB, then at least I had to ask Jurgen if he could possibly imagine that.
“I did not expect that at all, but I would not have forgiven myself for not asking him at that moment.”
Watzke added: “The most important thing in our relationship was and is that we can rely on each other blindly.
“Jurgen never lied to me. He is always honest, even in the job. And I never lied to him.
“Even in the most difficult phase, in the season of separation, when we crashed to the last place sometime shortly before the separation in the Bundesliga, that was the case.
“That sounds so obvious when you say that, but I’ve experienced it in a different way in this business and with other coaches.”
Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness, meanwhile, announced in February that he nearly hired Klopp to become the club’s manager in 2008.
The German will return to the dugout on October 20 for Liverpool’s trip to Old Trafford for a Premier League clash with old rivals Manchester United.