The 32-year-old is one of the most highly-rated young coaches in the game, having impressed in his rookie job with Hoffenheim, which he departed in the summer after concluding his three-year stay with a ninth-placed finish in Germany’s top flight.
He has started with promise in Saxony, guiding Leipzig to second in the Bundesliga off the back of five successive wins, including a comfortable 3-1 success over Hoffenheim on Saturday.
“I've said many times: Barcelona is a beautiful city, a beautiful club,” he told ZDF . “But they are not the only club that is attractive.”
Furthermore, he revealed that he has previously turned down the opportunity to go to Borussia Dortmund, where Lucien Favre finds himself under some pressure, five points off the pace of Bundesliga leaders Borussia Monchengladbach and flirting with a European exit.
“It’s true there was interest there,” he said. “In football, timing and fit is always the key, and it just did not fit, so I didn’t go there.
“The time did not fit and BVB did not want to wait. I was at Hoffenheim under contract, there was a clause – I could only leave in 2019. When that clause took effect, there was no position free in Dortmund.
“I had very good talks with Leipzig. I felt that the club really wanted me.”
He was also quizzed on the prospect of signing Erling Braut Haaland from sister club Red Bull Salzburg but played down the chances of a deal being done for a player who has caught the eye of many of the game’s top clubs after scoring 28 goals in 21 outings this season.
“Of course I would take him,” he confirmed. “He is a very good striker. He is physically very good, has a very good presence, he is also capable of not only scoring goals but setting them up.
“Unfortunately, we have nothing to announce.”
Asked if a deal might be struck this winter, he said: “I would not comment on that if that were the case. But I don’t think so.”
Haaland is available for just £17 million ($22m) due to a release clause in his deal.