Bayer Leverkusen are reportedly putting plans in place for the expected departure of manager Xabi Alonso this summer. Jurgen Klopp’s announcement last week that he would be leaving Liverpool at the end of the season was greeted with shock in Germany as well as in England, with Alonso immediately installed as the bookies’ favourite to succeed him.
The Spaniard is already an iconic figure at Anfield having spent five years there as a player, and was part of their dramatic 2005 Champions League success. Thus far, he’s been coy on the speculation, instead insisting he remains focused on his side’s Bundesliga title challenge.
“At the moment, I am really happy here,” he told reporters. “I enjoy my work here and feel that it’s given me a challenge. We are on an intense but beautiful journey here in Leverkusen and I’m trying to give my best to help my players be ready for the next thing.”
But according to Bild reporter Christian Falk, the club are already resigned to the inevitable. And he claims a potential replacement for the 42-year-old has already been considered, although Leverkusen’s plan is seemingly plagued by a stumbling block.
“Leverkusen are preparing for the possibility of losing coach Xabi Alonso to the Reds,” he said to CaughtOffside. “Hansi Flick was actually considered a potential successor. But the former national coach is at the top of FC Barcelona’s list as Xavi’s successor.”
Alonso, 42, had three years in charge at Real Sociedad B before joining Leverkusen in October 2022. With the team lying second from bottom, he not only inspired a turnaround in league form, but also led to the club to the semi-finals of the Europa League where they were beaten by Roma.
And now the club are on an unlikely title charge. They go into Saturday’s game at Darmstadt two points clear of champions Bayern Munich, with a potentially pivotal clash between the two sides coming up on February 10.
Falk added that fans in Germany fully expected Klopp to take another big job regardless of whether or not he takes a break from the dugout after his Liverpool exit. He’s been linked with the German national job with Julian Nagelsmann set to end his temporary stint at the culmination of Euro 2024 this summer.
He said: “In Germany, however, people hope that Jurgen Klopp will become the national coach at some point. But the job as England national coach should also appeal to him. Nobody believes that he will never be a coach again.”