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Next Liverpool manager: Xabi Alonso swipes back at Arsenal legend over ‘regret’ warning

Xabi Alonso with an inset of Paul Merson

Xabi Alonso has responded to Paul Merson's claim that he could regret turning down Liverpool

Xabi Alonso has hit back at Paul Merson after the Arsenal legend warned that he may live to “regret his decision” to turn down potential job opportunities with Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

Alonso was heavily linked with Liverpool and Bayern after current incumbents Jurgen Klopp and Thomas Tuchel announced earlier this year that they will leave their respective positions at the end of the season.

TEAMtalk exclusively revealed in February that Alonso had been offered a three-year contract to succeed Klopp in the summer, but the Spaniard announced last month that he will remain with Bayer Leverkusen having led the club to their first-ever Bundesliga title this season.

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Alonso’s call came as a huge surprise to Merson, who expressed his shock at the decision during an appearance on Sky Sports.

“If I’m being honest yes, I’m surprised,” Merson said.

“I think you’ve got to make hay while the sun shines in management, and you’re talking about two of the biggest jobs in world football with Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

“This chance may never come again. I don’t see Bayer Leverkusen winning the Bundesliga next season, I expect Bayern Munich the juggernaut to carry on as they have the last 10, 11, 12 years.

“I’m shocked, really shocked.

“I can understand that he’s probably happy with what he’s doing. He’s getting great accolades and rightly so.

“But these opportunities come along once in a blue moon and I just hope he doesn’t regret this decision. That’s my opinion.

“I know what managers are like, but everyone gets the sack in the end.

“He’s turning down two of the biggest jobs in the world.”

Xabi Alonso responds to Paul Merson comments

In an interview with Spanish publication AS, Alonso has responded with a dig at Merson, who has struggled with alcohol, drug and gambling addictions over the course of his life.

“Paul Merson will have made decisions that I don’t value,” Alonso remarked when Merson’s comments were put to him. “Mine is this. Everyone is responsible for their own decisions.

“I hope my decision to stay is the right one, I’m convinced it will be the right one. I’m enjoying the moment and, of course, I want to keep improving.”

Alonso went on to express his gratitude for the reaction his success with Leverkusen has received in his homeland, reiterating his stance that his work with his current employers is not yet finished.

He said: “I am very happy with the reaction we are getting from Spain.

“The season has been fantastic, not only because of the results but because of the way of playing. That attracts in Spain and also in many parts of Europe.

“It makes the club grow and have a more global following. It’s important for everyone.

“Being part of this and having participated in the process makes me happy. But we don’t want to stop.”

Alonso’s comments come after TEAMtalk exclusively revealed on Thursday that Liverpool are planning to propose a three-year deal to Sporting Lisbon manager Ruben Amorim, who has emerged as the clear frontrunner to succeed Klopp.

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