Jurgen Klinsmann may just have edged ahead in the race to succeed Roy Hodgson as England boss, with Germany general manager Oliver Bierhoff stating that he believes his friend and former colleague has entered talks over the vacant position. The ex-Tottenham Hotspur striker is currently in charge of the US national team, whom he guided to a fourth-place finish in the Copa America Centenario on home soil last month.
Klinsmann, who also serves as technical director, has been in his current role for five years and is under contract until the end of the 2018 World Cup in Russia. However, he has become an increasingly unpopular figure across the Atlantic after exiting the 2016 World Cup after losing to Belgium in 2014, a disappointing showing at the Gold Cup, and a last-gasp defeat to rivals Mexico in a Confederations' Cup play-off. The 51-year-old also oversaw a disastrous 2-0 defeat to Guatemala in March.
A previous two-year spell with his native Germany was far more successful, with Klinsmann sowing the seeds of a hugely successful youth movement that saw Die Mannschaft bounce back from consecutive European Championship failures to make the semi-finals of a home World Cup in 2006.
Bierhoff was appointed to his post by Klinsmann in 2004 and has lauded the investment in infrastructure and "education of young players and coaches" that has seen the Bundesliga thrive and also helped the national team to reach at least the penultimate stage in five more major international tournaments under the watchful eye of Joachim Low.
"Since the arrival of Jürgen Klinsmann – who I think is in discussions with England – we have also given the national team a certain pride, atmosphere and organisation," he was quoted as saying by The Guardian. "The success of the story is the high quality but also the good organisation and good atmosphere we have in the group."
He added: "He (Klinsmann) would be a good fit. We started in 2004 together and he's not always, how can I say, nice to handle because he wants to change [things]. But he brings motivation. He has the courage to make difficult decisions and, perhaps, you need something like this."
England are searching for a new manager after the out-of-contract Hodgson announced that he was standing aside immediately after a humiliating 2-1 loss to Iceland at Euro 2016. Frontrunner Arsene Wenger, Guus Hiddink, Laurent Blanc, Roberto Mancini, Claudio Ranieri, Roberto Martinez, Manuel Pellegrini, Luiz Felipe Scolari and Slaven Bilic are among the plethora of other overseas candidates linked with the job since chief executive Martin Glenn confirmed that the Football Association (FA) will not rule out the possibility of a third international appointment following the mixed reigns of Sven-Goran Eriksson and Fabio Capello.
Sam Allardyce, Eddie Howe, Alan Shearer, Alan Pardew and Harry Redknapp, famously passed over in 2012, are among the homegrown names mentioned so far. Glen Hoddle continues to be tipped by many ex-pros despite not having managed since leaving Wolves a decade ago. New Celtic boss Brendan Rodgers has already ruled himself out of the running, while current England U21 chief Gareth Southgate was originally installed as the bookmakers' favourite but is believed to have turned down the chance to take over on an initial interim basis.