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Xabi Alonso: Bayern Munich open discussions with Bayer Leverkusen manager and Liverpool target

Bayern Munich confirmed they will part ways with manager Thomas Tuchel this summer; the Bundesliga champions trail Xabi Alonso's Bayer Leverkusen by 10 points and he is their preferred candidate; Liverpool is also an option for Alonso with Jurgen Klopp to depart after the season

Bayer Leverkusen manager Xabi Alonso
Image: Xabi Alonso has led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga

Bayern Munich have opened discussions with Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso about replacing Thomas Tuchel in the summer, according to Sky in Germany.

Alonso, who is also of interest to Liverpool, is Bayern's preferred candidate and they are understood to have received a positive signal from the Spaniard during initial talks.

The 42-year-old would cost Bayern between £12.8m-£21.3m (€15m-€25m) this summer as a fixed exit clause in his contract of around £12.8m (€15m) does not kick in until the summer of 2025.

Sky in Germany's Florian Plettenberg reports that Bayern are cautiously optimistic that Alonso will move to Munich. He told Sky's Transfer Update: "They have the information that, if he changes, he will go to Bayern and not Liverpool. Alonso says that Liverpool and the [Jurgen] Klopp legacy are a difficult number. You could lose more than win."

Will Xabi Alonso (left) replace Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich?
Image: Will Xabi Alonso (left) replace Thomas Tuchel at Bayern Munich?

Bayern confirmed in February they will part ways with Tuchel at the end of the season. His side currently trail Leverkusen by 10 points in the Bundesliga and lost their Champions League last-16 first leg 1-0 at Lazio.

Liverpool, meanwhile, are searching for Klopp's successor so which club provides a more compelling and stable project?

Sky Sports News' Melissa Reddy analyses the situation after speaking to multiple sources in England and Germany.

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The case for Bayern Munich...

Winning is easier at Bayern, but losing leaves you in a critical condition - Julian Nagelsmann had overseen defeat in just three games across all competitions last season before he was sacked.

Tuchel, exiting in May, has been fortunate to last this long in contrast. Borussia Dortmund lost the title last season more than Bayern won it.

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Highlights of the draw between SC Freiburg and Bayern Munich as Lucas Holer snatches a late equaliser

The German giants are so conditioned to success and regularly extracting the best gifts from their domestic threats, it prompts periods of complacency, but also a divorce from reality. Bayern believe they should be lifting the European Cup. Failure in that competition is fatal for managers.

Since Klopp took charge at Liverpool, seven different faces have been at Bayern's helm. There has been chaos at board level, perfectly summarised by previous bosses Oliver Kahn and Hasan Salihamidzic sacking Nagelsmann in March 2023, only to be relieved of their own duties two months later.

Alonso will be tuned in to how often the manager's decisions are berated at Bayern. Tuchel recently complained that the media draw battle lines by favouring members of the squad and bristling when they do not start.

Tuchel has accepted responsibility for poor performances and results, but reminded he is not the only problem at Bayern; a broadside at both the squad and the hierarchy.

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Bayer Leverkusen head coach Xabi Alonso reflects on his story so far as he discusses following in his father's footsteps, coaching idols and what drew him to the Bundesliga side

It has been evident over recent years that Bayern insist on a coach with a clear philosophy without ensuring the team meshes with that identity.

The spine needs to be rebuilt and the average age of the group reduced. Perhaps the sales pitch is Alonso can construct a side in his image - but does recent history support that?

The case for Liverpool...

The wholesome scenes at Wembley, where the club's academy kids showed the bravery to burst Chelsea's billion-pound bubble in the Carabao Cup final, will have emphasised what great health Jurgen Klopp leaves Liverpool in.

The first-team squad, in the mix for three more trophies this season despite a ridiculously long injury list, requires supplements and enhancements rather than any serious surgery.

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Liverpool's Jurgen Klopp hailed potential successor Xabi Alonso as a 'standout' manager after his incredible season so far with Bayer Leverkusen

The direction of travel is clear at Anfield. Alonso wouldn't just be inheriting one of the strongest squads in Europe, but a special bond between the players and supporters that was neatly showcased in the galvanising rendition of Allez, Allez, Allez during extra-time on Sunday.

The house, harmony, and hope that Klopp has built is formidable and will endure under the right circumstances. Alonso need not fear mimicking the German as Liverpool do not want a JK 2.0 or a lite version of him.

That does not alter the fact that it is daunting to succeed a man, who more than winning the lot, made people feel and believe through unforgettable shared experiences.

Questions over whether a Liverpool team geared to a more direct style of play is suited to Alonso's possession-based preference ignores the evidence of his ability to adapt and underestimates the bandwidth of players to absorb new ideas.

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Xabi Alonso insists his focus is solely on winning games with Bayer Leverkusen, amid speculation he could join either Bayern Munich or Liverpool in the summer

His due diligence would also point to patience, empowerment, and non-interference from owners Fenway Sports Group.

The one sticking issue is Liverpool are concurrently searching for a sporting director, so Alonso doesn't have clarity on who will be leading on a recruitment and football operations front.

Alonso knows the scale of competitors will be much higher at Liverpool, who cannot offer state-powered tools. He will need to help find the edges, to work within the club's means.

It will be harder to win, but for someone who outperformed his resources at both Real Sociedad B and Bayer, perhaps he will feel it is more rewarding.

Stay at Leverkusen?

Alonso is scorching the earth with his beautifully efficient Bayer side - they are the only unbeaten team across all competitions in Europe's major leagues - so it is easy to forget how early into this project he still is.

The Basque was appointed in October 2022 and there must be slight annoyance on his part at the timing of these mega-big gigs. Next summer offers more breathing room and development space than this one.

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Highlights from the Bundesliga as Xabi Alonso's side go ten points clear at the top of the table after 2-0 win away to Cologne

Alonso has previously held his nerve. Eberl, now Bayern's director of sport, had tried to lure the young manager from Real Sociedad B to Borussia Monchengladbach in the early months of 2021.

Should Alonso serve up the watershed season that is on the cards for Bayer, it's difficult to envisage how he could improve or build on it.

The apex predators, including Bayern, will be circling to loot talent. The expectation, the pressure, the new normal will be different.

Given what he's achieved in such a short amount of time, it feels unwise to bet against Alonso. It would be some statement to shun Liverpool and Bayern to continue on his current path.

It is testament to his work that Alonso already finds himself spoilt with such choices.

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