Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Final Xabi Alonso decision revealed as Michael Edwards fast tracks hunt for Plan B

Xabi Alonso may be out of the running for the Liverpool job with Ruben Amorim now a firm contender

Xabi Alonso may be out of the running for the Liverpool job with Ruben Amorim now a firm contender

Liverpool are now expected to miss out on the appointment of Xabi Alonso as their new manager this summer after a report claimed to have learned the Spaniard’s big decision on his future – with Michael Edwards now casting ‘admiring glances’ towards an alternative.

The Reds are now less than three months away from a tearful farewell with their charismatic manager Jurgen Klopp, who will walk away from Anfield at the season’s end in order to take a much-needed rest. His stint at the helm has seen Liverpool already win seven major trophies, though they hope the number could swell to nine before the hugely-popular German does walk away.

And while Liverpool do not want anything to distract from the task in hand – winning both the Premier League and the Europa League – behind the scenes work is going on intensely at finding the best possible heir to Klopp at Anfield.

That hunt is now being led by new CEO of football, Edwards, who has returned to Anfield to lead the post Klopp era on Merseyside.

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As a result, it has been well documented that his first choice – and his superiors at Anfield – is the club’s former midfield maestro Alonso, who has been working wonders in his first senior managerial role with Bayer Leverkusen.

There is a wealth of goodwill from former players too desperate to see Alonso take the role, with former Reds hero Fernando Torres explaining why he thinks Alonso is the perfect candidate for the job.

And while TEAMtalk has learned that a three-year deal is on the table for the Spaniard to manage Liverpool, all is not that simple for the Reds in their quest to land the 42-year-old.

Next Liverpool manager: Xabi Alonso makes ‘final verdict’ on succeeding Klopp

For starters, Liverpool face competition from Bayern Munich, who are also in the hunt for a new manager and fancy Alonso as the successor to Thomas Tuchel, who will also depart at the season’s end.

There is also the fact that he is on to a great thing too with Leverkusen, whom he is committed to until 2026 and who he has steered to within 15 points of the Bundesliga title. Having never won the crown in their 120-year history, Alonso is on the cusp of creating history at the BayArena with the side currently 10 points clear of 11-times reigning champions Bayern Munich.

TEAMtalk also exclusively broke the news that Alonso has serious reservations about quitting Leverkusen for Liverpool and stepping into such major shoes as Klopp and that he feels the job may well have come too soon in his fledgling career.

Now reports in Germany claim Alonso has now decided that he does indeed plan to stay with Leverkusen for at least one more year, and, if he were to quit the BayArena, it would only be for a cross-German move to Bayern.

That claim comes from Sky Germany, who have insisted all along that Alonso to Bayern is the only move the Spaniard will consider making this summer. Now they claim sources have indicated to them that this is very much the case, and that a move to Anfield now looks highly unlikely.

Bayern’s honouraray president, Uli Hoeness, has also hinted at his confidence of his club landing their man.

Speaking at a Munich Trade Fair, Hoeness said: “He [Alonso] has proved that he can be a coach for the big time.

“There are hardly any suitable coaches who are currently free. Rather they are coaches who are under contract somewhere and possibly have great success.”

Leverkusen captain drops hint at Alonso decision

Hoeness added: “And that makes it much more difficult because clubs like Liverpool, Real Madrid, Leverkusen and FC Bayern are working on it [securing Alonso]. It’s not so easy to tell them that Bayern is the measure of all things.”

The possibility of Alonso staying put has also been discussed by Leverkusen’s goalkeeper and captain Lukas Hradecky, though the Finn also admits that no-one at the club would hold it against Alonso were he to move on.

“No-one would be angry or argue if he wins the Bundesliga and decides to go another route,” Hradecky said.

“We see it daily that he loves to be in Leverkusen. He enjoys Dusseldorf where he lives. But if you look at it from another point of view: How can you make it better than this season? “.

“We have built something that’s worth a trophy. I hope it comes. Football is cruel sometimes, you don’t want Bayern breathing down your necks but hopefully the platform we have created is enough. We’re getting closer. That’s the mission. We have to keep believing. We are getting closer to our dream and I hope it happens.

“For Xabi, there is a lot to ponder but he’s enough of a gentleman to make the right decision and only he knows what’s best for him.”

Liverpool cast admiring eye towards Plan B Ruben Amorim

As a consequence, it’s now claimed that Edwards is casting ‘admiring glances’ towards their favoured Plan B in Ruben Amorim.

The 39-year-old, like Alonso, is also regarded as one of European football’s top young coaches and is also on track to become a league champion himself with Sporting Lisbon this season.

Having already won the Portuguese Primeira Liga crown in 2021, a second title would only rubberstamp his hero status in the Portuguese capital.

Protecting them from his costly departure, though, is a significant exit fee, which is reportedly set at €30m (£25.7m).

However, according to Givemesport, Amorin is now fast emerging as the first choice for both Edwards and his recently-appointed new sporting director Richard Hughes at Anfield, who state the Portuguese is  ‘highly regarded’ by both men. In fact, he is said to have attracted ‘more admiring glances’ from Liverpool ‘than has been widely reported’.

Furthermore, it is now stated that Edwards will ‘only hand’ the Liverpool reins to Alonso ‘if they are convinced that his desire is to succeed Klopp’ and not head to another big club such as Real Madrid or Bayern Munich.

As such, Amorim is ‘firmly in the race’ to be handed the job at Anfield given the growing probability that Alonso is not going to accept an offer.

Liverpool’s third choice option is said to be Roberto De Zerbi, but for now, all their energies are likely to be spent in trying to lure Amorim to the Premier League, with the report now suggesting he is fast emerging as Edwards’ top choice for the Liverpool vacancy.

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