Xabi Alonso ‘favours Liverpool return over Bayern Munich’

In-demand Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso prefers managing Liverpool over another of his former teams in Bayern Munich, according to a report.

In-demand Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso is supposedly leaning towards taking the Liverpool job over managing Bayern Munich for the 2024-25 season.

Thanks to Die Werkself’s exceptional Bundesliga exploits and the availability of several top jobs this summer, Alonso will be one of the hottest properties on the managerial market in the coming months.

The 42-year-old could potentially take his pick from as many as four clubs, as Liverpool, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich are all believed to be keen on acquiring his services.

Two members of that quartet are already confirmed to be on the hunt for new managers, as within the space of 48 hours last month, Jurgen Klopp and Xavi announced their imminent exits from Liverpool and Barcelona respectively.

Meanwhile, Thomas Tuchel is thought to be at increasing risk of being sacked by Bayern, who are playing catch-up to Leverkusen in the Bundesliga title race and will likely give the German the boot if they end the season trophyless.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso before the match on October 21, 2023© Reuters

Real Madrid will also be expected to make a play for their former midfielder if Carlo Ancelotti vacates his position over the summer, but Liverpool remain the outright favourites to prise him away from the BayArena.

The Reds have now received a significant boost in their pursuit of Alonso, as according to Foot Mercato – via the Liverpool Echo – the Spaniard would prefer to return to Anfield than take the reins at Bayern.

Since Klopp publicly announced that he would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season, Alonso has swerved questions about the Reds job, but the report adds that he is aware of interest from the Premier League leaders and Bayern.

The 2005 Champions League winner has a contract with Leverkusen until 2026, although it was claimed that his terms include a release clause reserved for one of his former clubs in Liverpool, Bayern or Real Madrid.

Such reports are now thought to be wide of the mark, though, and Leverkusen director Simon Rolfes has also ruled out the prospect of Alonso leaving the club in the upcoming post-season period.

Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso before the match on January 29, 2023© Reuters

Rolfes’s comments are unlikely to deter potential suitors, though, as Alonso’s irrepressible Leverkusen side continue their bid to deny Bayern Munich a 12th successive Bundesliga title.

Die Werkself opened up a five-point lead over the champions thanks to a stellar 3-0 victory against Tuchel’s team last weekend, and a 2-1 success at Heidenheim on Saturday saw them increase their advantage to eight points ahead of Bayern’s clash with VfL Bochum on Sunday.

Alonso previously took charge of Real Madrid and Real Sociedad’s youth teams before being hired by Leverkusen in October 2022, and his record for the German giants reads 45 wins, 14 draws and 10 losses from 69 matches.

Under the 42-year-old’s wing, Leverkusen also reached the semi-finals of the 2022-23 Europa League, and they are into the last 16 of the current edition thanks to six wins from six in Group H.

As well as chasing success in the Bundesliga and Europa League, Leverkusen have reached the semi-finals of the ongoing DFB-Pokal and will clash with Fortuna Dusseldorf next month for the right to compete in May’s final.

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