Premier League • England

Next Liverpool manager: Sky Sports man reveals Xabi Alonso concern as Michael Edwards eyes maverick Ligue 1 coach

Potential new Liverpool manager Xabi Alonso and inset, new candidate, Franck Haise

Potential new Liverpool manager Xabi Alonso and inset, new candidate, Franck Haise

Liverpool have been warned by a prominent Sky Sports presenter that unless they act quickly and decisively for Xabi Alonso they are in danger of missing out – prompting reports to claim efforts for a surprise Ligue 1 coach have been hurried along as a result.

The Reds are now in the final three months of the Jurgen Klopp era with the German announcing back in January that this would be his final season in charge at Liverpool. And the 56-year-old hopes to finish his time on Merseyside with his most-successful season yet with the Reds still active in three competitions and having already got the Carabao Cup safely locked away in the Anfield trophy cabinet.

Undoubtedly, though, that winning all of the Premier League, FA Cup and Europa League will be an extremely-tough challenge, given no side in the history of English football has ever completed a quadruple, and only three have ever done a Treble.

Nonetheless, with Klopp and his players going full steam ahead and turning their attention to Sunday’s FA Cup quarter-final trip to tackle Manchester United at Old Trafford, work is frantically going on behind the scenes at getting Liverpool’s management team in place for next season and several years to come.

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First up, Michael Edwards has this week returned to a new CEO of football role in a move that has been widely heralded, including by Klopp himself.

Klopp has also responded to claims that Edwards could talk him into reversing his decision to quit as Liverpool boss.

His first mission will be to confirm the arrival of a new sporting director, with Bournemouth’s Richard Hughes widely expected to be getting the role.

Liverpool given new warning over Xabi Alonso

Then there’s also the small matter of landing on a new manager to succeed Klopp from the end of the season. Their focus has been firmly focused on former star Alonso, thriving in his first senior management role with Bayer Leverkusen.

Top of the Bundesliga and well-placed to end Bayern Munich’s 11-year stranglehold on the Bundsliga crown, Alonso and Co are pushing to win the first ever league crown in the club’s 120-year history. A seismic achievement if they can pull it off.

However, reports have claimed Alonso is in no hurry to decide his future and despite TEAMtalk learning the 42-year-old has been offered a three-year deal at Anfield if he wants it, there are fears that he could end up staying at the BayArena.

Furthermore, they are far from alone in their quest to land on the Spaniard, with Bayern Munich also making a beeline for the Bayer coach as they seek to find a successor to Thomas Tuchel.

As a result, Sky Sports presenter Dharmesh Sheth has warned the Reds they will need to act quickly and decisively to land on Alonso, and present to him an offer that is simply too good to turn down.

Speaking to Givemesport, Sheth said: “It’s going to be very, very interesting who comes in. They’re talking about Xabi Alonso and if he is to be the man that they want, again, they’re going to have to move really, really quickly, because they found out, rather like when they moved for Michael Edwards, he was talking to other clubs.

“We know that Bayern Munich are talking to Xabi Alonso about potentially becoming their manager. It’s going to be a really interesting summer there as well at Liverpool.”

Next Liverpool manager: Michael Edwards eyes Ligue 1 coach as Plan B option

Amid fears they could miss out on Alonso, or indeed, he could look to stay with Leverkusen, Edwards has been scanning Europe for other would-be successors.

And while reports have claimed the likes of Roberto De Zerbi, Julian Nagelsmann and Ruben Amorim could be in the frame, each one of those comes with a pretty significant hurdles, not least sizeable exit clauses in the wake of De Zerbi and especially Amorim.

While that potentially is something Liverpool would pay for the right candidate, it’s been claimed in recent days that a maverick pick from France, in the form of Lens mastermind Franck Haise, is emerging as a surprise option.

Not much is known about the 52-year-old coach this side of the Channel, though he is one of Ligue 1’s most-respected managers around having done an incredible job in charge at Lens.

Having has steered them from the lower echelons of Ligue 1 into the Champions League and was actually named as French Football’s Manager of the Year in 2022/23 after their second-placed finish.

Speaking to CaughtOffside earlier this week, French football expert Jonathan Johnson claimed Edwards is a huge fan of his work.

“My understanding is that, yes, there has been interest in him going back a couple of years now, not just from Liverpool but also from other clubs across Europe,” the journalist said.

“I don’t think you can underplay the massive role that he’s played in the restoration of Lens to being one of France’s major clubs once again.

“Lens has huge cultural significance to French football, a huge fan-base, and there are a lot of parallels between them and Borussia Dortmund, which perhaps makes sense as him being linked as someone who could follow Jurgen Klopp.”

Could Edwards convince Franck Haise?

Johnson added: “Still, in terms of what he’s done on the pitch he’s not had quite the same amount of time with Lens as Klopp had with Dortmund, so he doesn’t have the silverware or European runs to boast.

“What Haise has done, though, is ensured Lens got back into the Champions League this season, after finishing just a point behind champions PSG last term, and they’ve never finished lower than 7th under the 52-year-old.

“They are statistically the most in-form team in France in 2024, so if you bear in mind that he’s done all this with a fraction of the budget of PSG, he has done a phenomenal job.”

And while it is a potentially stumbling block that his English is not all that good, it’s believed Edwards is now doing his due dilligence on the Lens coach and gathering information on him ahead of a possible swoop.

Whether Edwards actually goes for him remains to be seen but he is now reportedly firmly in the mix to become Reds boss if the approach for Alonso fails.

Haise has an impressive 48.43% win rate with Lens, claiming victories in 77 of his 159 games in charge.

Alonso, by contrast, has won 49 of 74 games and remains unbeaten across all competitions this season. His record currenty sits at a hugely-impressive 66.22%.

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