Steve McClaren Joins Wolfsburg

11 05 2010

Photo by Fakwes

Steve McClaren agreed last night to be the new manager of German side VfL Wolfsburg.

McClaren agreed to leave Eredivisie champions FC Twente and join the Bundesliga outfit last night with him officially taking over the job on 1st July. The 49 year old signs a two year contract with a reported annual salary of three million euros.

The former Middlesbrough boss had been linked with a host of clubs since winning the Dutch league nine days ago. Wolfsburg were always the favourites for his signature if he decided to move on and he was in Germany last Friday talking to club officials.

After meeting with representatives from Wolfsburg, Steve went back to England to discuss the move with his family. When he was at FC Twente his family stayed in their Yorkshire home and McClaren came back on days off. This has obviously been a big challenge for him and he reveled that his family will be moving with him to Germany.

“I have had two fantastic years at FC Twente, but made a promise to my wife and children (who remained in England) that I would not spend more than two years living away from them,” said McClaren on the eve of his fourth managerial appointment.

“Now we will all live together in Germany.”

VfL Wolfsburg winning the 2008/09 Bundesliga title Photo by Rolf-Werner Imhoff

McClaren, who becomes the first Englishman to be a head coach in the Bundesliga, takes over a Wolfsburg side that has underperformed this season. Die Wölfe finished 8th in the league this season after being German champions in 2008/09. The low finish also means the Lower Saxony side won’t be playing in Europe next season after being in the Champions League (playing Manchester United in the group stage) to begin with and then the Europa league after the winter break this year (being knocked out by Fulham in the quarter finals).

McClaren has been promised money to spend which could be increased if Edin Džeko leaves the club.  Džeko was top goalscorer in the Bundesliga this season with 22 goals is being courted by some of the biggest sides in Europe. Chelsea have been linked but Italy is thought to be his likely new home, with Inter, Juventus and Milan all possible destinations. Edin would command a transfer fee somewhere within the realms of €40 million.

The squad would still have Brazilian Grafite, vice captain Zvjezdan Misimović and former Newcastle United striker Obafemi Martins as attacking options if Džeko did move on. If Wolfsburg end up looking for a new forward it could pave the way for McClaren to be reunited with Bryan Ruiz. The Costa Rican scored 24 goals in his debut season for FC Twente after joining for €5 million from Belgian side Genk. Ruiz has already be linked with a move away from Twente and has a widely publicised €15 million release clause in his contract.

Steve McClaren's new home - The 30,122 capacity Volkswagen Arena. Photo by Saubär

While that move depends on the decisions of current Wolfsburg squad members, there are other transfers being touted in the press that could happen sooner. One of those would who is reportedly in line for a move to the Volkswagen Arena is current German international defender Arne Friedrich. The 30 year old has played for Hertha BSC for eight years but the side from the capital finished bottom making a move away seem likely for the club captain. Friedrich is a very versatile defender being able to player either as a centre back or full back. He is also known as one of the fastest defenders in the Bundesliga.

Here at EFA, we will be tracking the transfers at Wolfsburg over the summer and how McClaren gets on in this new chapter of his career.

Quotes sourced from the BBC website, other information sourced from Wolfsburger Aller-Zeitung.

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