In the third of our five part series (https://anfieldindex.com/53170/potential-ward-replacements-paul-mitchell.html) we look at potential replacements for Julian Ward, who will be leaving the club as sporting director this summer. Our third instalment sees us discuss a man whose currently working in the game, having retired from the same role at Borussia Dortmund. An old friend of Jurgen Klopp may seem like an outsider, but can’t yet be fully ruled out.
Michael Zorc is a living legend at Signal Iduna Park and quite rightly so. Having made an incredible 463 appearances for the club over a 17 year playing career the Dortmund native moved into the role of sporting director in 1998, only stepping down at the end of last season. The term ‘one man club’ couldn’t be more apt, as the now 60 year old played a key part in the clubs greatest period of success. A 43 year career as player and sporting director is incredible by anyone’s standards. The figures speak for themselves.
‘Susi’ as he’s nicknamed enjoys a special relationship with Jurgen Klopp, which does bring him front and centre into the picture as a candidate. When asked why he described the German manager as his ‘greatest ever signing’, Zorc didn’t hold back in his praise. “Because he shaped an era with us that is and was unique and difficult to repeat. That was a period of five years that has seldom been seen in the entire history of Borussia Dortmund, even more than 100 years.” Difficult to repeat, but not impossible. The key question would be whether at this current time the hunger exists to take on the current challenge Liverpool face.
Jude Bellingham will naturally be the first name that springs to mind when Dortmund is mentioned and there’s a connecting link. It was strongly rumoured that one of Zorc’s final acts was to ensure the 19 year old was declared ‘not for sale’ this summer, despite rumours of an £80m approach from Anfield. As well as the Birmingham youngster, an impressive cv of recruitment also includes players such as Robert Lewandowski, Shinji Kagawa, Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho. Dortmund are famed for their development of players and the list really does goes on and on.
His current age and association with his former club could well mean this is ruled out or seen as an outside bet at best. However, anyone who enjoys such a special relationship with Jurgen Klopp and boasts a record like he does can’t be ruled out. Not a favourite by any means, but Michael Zorc can’t yet be ruled out the conversation. One to keep an eye on.