Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Klopp hails ‘standout’ Xabi Alonso as staggeringly-low cost to appoint Spaniard gives FSG major belief

Jurgen Klopp could be succeeded by Bayer Leverkusen coach Xabi Alonso as Liverpool manager

Jurgen Klopp could be succeeded by Xabi Alonso as Liverpool manager

Liverpool have learned of the dream amount they would need to fork out to prise Xabi Alonso away from Bayer Leverkusen  – with Jurgen Klopp also seemingly happy to see the former Reds star appointed as his successor.

The Reds are seeking a replacement for the German – one of the best managers of the his generation, and a man who stole the hearts of Liverpool fans the world over – after his bombshell announcement that he would leave at the season’s end. Having guided the Reds to six trophies and four major European finals along the way, Klopp will be remembered with the utmost fondness.

Finding his replacement at Anfield will be no simple task for owners FSG and arguably presents their greatness task in ther 14-year reign as Anfield’s custodians.

Yet the good news is that a number of top-class candidates do seem to have presented themselves too them, with Julian Nagelsmann, Ruben Amorin and Roberto De Zerbi all seemingly in contention.

READ MORE ~ Five reasons why Xabi Alonso would be perfect Jurgen Klopp successor

Yet the main subject of their search appears to have focused on Alonso, their former midfielder currently doing a stellar job in his first senior role with Bundesliga table-toppers, Bayer Leverkusen.

Alonso himself has done his best to distance himself from talk of talking the job, presumably to ensure focus is not taken away from Leverkusen’s bid to win the first Bundesliga title in their 119-year history.

FSG themselves do not want to go public with their quest to land Alonso, either, given the Reds could enjoy their most successful season yet under Klopp as they bid to finish with a four-trophy flourish. Step one of that task takes place next Sunday when the Reds face Chelsea at Wembley in the Carabao Cup final.

Liverpool learn Xabi Alonso release clause

However, behind the scenes it is believed that FSG are making steps to appoint Alonso, not least given the competition that appears to have arisen for the 42-year-old’s services.

To that end, a report on Friday claimed Alonso would have to choose between both the Reds and another of his former clubs in Bayern Munich.

And whichever teams lands on the Spaniard will find they don’t even have to pay a penny in compensation after a surprise agreement was revealed about his exit clause at Leverkusen.

That was confirmed by Fernando Carro, who is the chief executive officer at Bayer Leverkusen, who told talkSPORT: “A release clause for Alonso? No, you don’t need one.

“We have a very good relationship with him and he knows we are a club who takes matters very seriously.

“We won’t force anyone to stay here if they don’t want to. We want him to feel happy with us so that his only wish is to stay.”

In an era where the likes of Chelsea spent £15m to prise Graham Potter away from Brighton, only to fire him a matter of months later, news that Alonso could leave on effectively a free, will make him an even more tempting option for Liverpool.

By comparisons, De Zerbi at Brighton and Amorin of Sporting Lisbon would both command sizeable fees of around £8m to £10m apiece.

Next Liverpool manager: Klopp backing for Alonso

With Alonso seemingly Liverpool’s number one candidate to replace him at Anfield, Klopp himself has also given the Spaniard a huge endorsement in a move that not just talks up his prospects of replacing him, but appears to be doing so with the German’s 100% blessing.

“Xabi is doing an incredible job,” Klopp said. “If there would not be the rumours around, that’s ­completely independent. If you would have asked me eight weeks ago about Xabi Alonso I would have gone: ‘Oh my God.’ The dinosaurs if you want – Ancelotti, Mourinho, Guardiola, maybe me – we will not do it for the next 20 years. OK, maybe Mourinho will. The next generation is already there and I would say Xabi is standout in that department.

“Former world-class player, from a coaching family as well which helps a little, he was like a coach already when he was playing. The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did, it is absolutely exceptional.

“I played a long time in the Bundesliga and it is super impressive. Not only the points tally but the way they play. Leverkusen was clearly the better side in the first game against Bayern and that is rare.

“To be honest when we beat Bayern at Dortmund it was a bit of very well defended, counterattack and taking the momentum. Especially at the beginning. But Leverkusen were better. That was probably the real surprise given the short time he was there and it’s a young team. He has super signings for this team, exactly what they needed, and that’s really a very special job.”

Most impressive traits revealed

Klopp now believes Alonso has a great chance of guiding Bayer to the Bundesliga title, adding: “Leverkusen has a very good chance to win the cup. When you look through the Europa League, Leverkusen is one of the favourites there as well so it could be the season for Leverkusen. Really crazy.”

Discussing his major merits as a coach, Klopp was quick to point out the insant impact he has made at Leverkusen and how quickly he has stamped his authority on the club as a major merit.

“How quick his team is that well tuned,” he said. “For the time it’s taken, he’s put his proper stamp on it.

“Nobody knows if that is always the way he wants to play or if it’s the way this team specifically plays, he is not long enough in the business to tell, but obviously the coaching part is exceptional. That is clear.”

Quite clearly, for FSG, Alonso is a candidate who ticks a large portion of their boxes. Now the move has been rubberstamped by Klopp, it seems a no-brainer to make that move.

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