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Jesse Marsch to Celtic? Analyzing the American’s best options

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Jesse Marsch has been linked with the vacant job at Celtic, but would that be a good move for the former USMNT player and assistant coach?

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Marsch, 47, has done an incredible job at the New York Red Bulls and now RB Salzburg as his evolution within the Red Bull family of clubs has been quite remarkable.

His success with Salzburg, winning the league and cup last season as well as coming close to reaching the UEFA Champions League last 16 this season, has Marsch on the radars of clubs across Europe’s top five leagues.

Many believe he will be the next man in charge at RB Leipzig (he was previously there as an assistant coach) when Julian Nagelsmann leaves, but his comments when asked about links to the Celtic job suggest otherwise.

“I’ve heard [about the links]. It’s an honor for me,” Jesse Marsch told BBC Sport. “Three or four years ago, being linked with a club like Celtic would literally be an impossibility for me. And now that this is where I am, I always just try to look at it in terms of, ‘what would the project look like?’

“Would we have similar ideas in how to build it the right way, invest in the academy, invest in young players and create this development process that I’m talking about? And not just focus on winning. Obviously I know that when you’re the coach of Celtic, winning is the most important thing.”

Marsch also recalled how the Red Bull group has a special link with Celtic and he took his most recent coaching badges in Scotland over a two-year period.

“When I spent the two years in the course there I really got the sense as to what an important club Celtic is to the people inside Scotland and what it means to the people of Glasgow,” Marsch said. “For me my full focus is on finishing my year in Salzburg and then I’ll evaluate in the summer the possibilities for a potential next step.” 

What would be the best move for Marsch?

That next step will be crucial in determining how Marsch’s long-term career will pan out. And it has to be the right next step.

Celtic are a huge club and can clearly compete in European soccer, and their battle for supremacy in Scotland with Steven Gerrard’s Rangers will be epic in the years to come.

Marsch would be a perfect man for the Celtic job, as his passionate speeches have been a feature of his time with the New York Red Bulls and in Salzburg and that would unite a club which needs new direction, impetus and fresh ideas from top to bottom.

But there is a sense that Marsch could be in line for even bigger jobs in England, Germany (with Schalke and Borussia Monchengladbach) or elsewhere.

The ‘Gladbach job in particular feels like a really good fit, especially as their soon-to-be-departing boss Marco Rose also moved from Salzburg to ‘Gladbach and there is a shared philosophy in developing young players.

USMNT fans want him to be in charge of the national team after Gregg Berhalter, which could clearly happen, but it feels like Marsch’s immediate future is in the club game in Europe.

This is something he has been building towards for a long time.

Marsch spoke with us at ProSoccerTalk back in 2014, during his time as an assistant at his alma mater Princeton College, and revealed he visited his close friend Bob Bradley in Egypt to learn about his experiences there as he and his family traveled around the world to explore everything they could.

The former midfielder with D.C. United, the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA was a former assistant coach for Bradley from 2011-12 and has certainly done the hard yards and tried to be as well-rounded as possible when it comes to his experience in Major League Soccer, Europe and across the world.

Marsch is the next top American coach, following on from his previous managers Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley, and the simple answer is that he should wait it out until the summer because a lot of jobs will become available and he will be at the very top of wishlists across Europe, including at Celtic.

That is a very exciting thing for Marsch, and a very exciting thing for young American coaches.

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