Liverpool have been presented with an open goal if they want to appoint Xabi Alonso as the successor to Jurgen Klopp at Anfield – but time is not on FSG’s side with the same opportunity also afforded to two of their rivals.
The German coach is rightly regarded as one of Liverpool’s greatest ever managers, have overseen a period of huge success on Merseyside. Appointed on 8 October 2015, Klopp has just celebrated eight years in the Anfield hotseat – making him the club’s fourth longest-serving boss behind Tom Watson, Bill Shankly and Bob Paisley.
Indeed, having led Liverpool into three Champions League finals – winning the trophy in 2019 – and having also ended the club’s 30-year wait to become champions of England, owners FSG, quite rightly, hope Klopp will continue in the Anfield hotseat for a good number of years yet.
Sadly in this world, nothing lasts forever and like every well-run club, Liverpool will need some sort of succession plan for Klopp in place if and when the day of his departure comes around.
To that end, a number of names have long been mentioned, with the likes of Julian Nagelsmann, Steven Gerrard – though his struggles at Aston Villa and subsequent move to Saudi side Al-Ettifaq have cooled those rumours – and Klopp’s current No 2, Pep Lijnders, have all been touted as possible successors in recent times.
More recently, Liverpool have also had it suggested that Brighton’s Roberto De Zerbi would be the ideal long-term successor with the Italian making a big impression on the south coast.
However, the outstanding candidate in recent times has arguably been Alonso. The Spaniard knows the club inside out and has since made a name for himself as coach of Bayer Leverkusen.
Secret clause gifts FSG chance to appoint Xabi Alonso as Liverpool boss
Alonso, now 41, was appointed Bayer coach back in October 2022 after leaving his role with Real Madrid’s B side.
He led the side to a sixth-place finish last season with a win percentage record of 45.5%. This season, however, Bayer are flying and currently sit top of the table with six wins and a draw from their seven matches played so far, prompting talk they could be on for a historic first-ever Bundesliga title.
Of course, there remains a long way to go and Harry Kane and Bayern Munich will surely have some say in denying Alonso and Co.
All the same, their start to the season has done plenty to highlight Alonso’s growing reputation as one of the best upcoming young coaches.
Now, according to SportsBILD, a secret clause in his deal allows Alonso to quit the BayArena if one of Liverpool, Bayern or Real Madrid makes an approach for him.
Of the trio, it is perhaps Real Madrid whose need is perhaps the greatest with speculation suggesting Carlo Ancelotti will depart the Bernabeu at the end of the season and that Alonso is one of two names on the Spanish giants’ wishlist.
To that end, the clause will certainly come as music to the Bernabeu officials’ ears. However, there also remains a chance that Alonso could yet find himself heading to Anfield too with the clause granting the Merseysiders’ permission to be granted talks with the Spaniard’s services.
FSG have limited time to activate Alonso chance
However, time is not on FSG’s side if they do want to consider Alonso. To that end, SportsBILD writes that the clause expires after next summer’s transfer window closes, giving Liverpool just a short space of time to benefit from that option.
Klopp’s current deal at Anfield ties him down to the club until summer 2026 and it is hard to envisage either party wanting to part ways at any stage before that.
The German has made clear his intentions to stay loyal to that deal and has even indicated recently he could yet extend the deal again if all parties are happy nearer the time.
Klopp also recently made clear his dedication to the Anfield cause when the Germany national team job recently became available once again. Klopp, however, who has in the past admitted it would be “an honour” to lead his country, quickly rebuffed that possibility, while even the chance of managing them on a co-operative basis, alongside his job at Anfield, did not interest him.
Therefore, and despite the temptation of the Alonso clause, that is something that is surely likely to pass FSG and Liverpool by. The time could one day come when Alonso is the subject of an intense chase by Liverpool; that time, however, is unlikely to arrive any time soon.