Why Xabi Alonso Was Correct to Stick With Leverkusen Despite Liverpool, Bayern Links

Why Xabi Alonso Was Correct to Stick With Leverkusen Despite Liverpool, Bayern Links

Martin Moses
updated at April 2, 2024 at 6:58 AM
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  • Xabi Alonso chose to remain with Bayer Leverkusen despite interest from Bayern Munich and Liverpool
  • Both clubs will be managerless, with Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp leaving at the end of the season
  • Sports Brief has analysed why the Spaniard's courageous choice might have been the correct decision

Xabi Alonso made a surprising announcement last week when he disclosed that he had decided to remain with Bayer Leverkusen for at least another season.

The fast-rising manager had caught the attention of major clubs, and it looked as if he would quit the Bay Arena at the end of this season.

Xabi Alonso, Bayer Leverkusen, Hoffenheim, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Bundesliga, Thomas Tuchel, Jurgen Klopp
Bayer Leverkusen head coach, Xabi Alonso, celebrates with his players at the end of their match against TSG Hoffenheim on March 30. Photo by Lars Baron.
Source: Getty Images

A celebrated midfielder during his days, the Spaniard has carried the same success to his coaching career, which is set to bear fruit in a few months.

Currently 13 points ahead of serial winners, Bayern Munich, in the Bundesliga title race, it would take a collapse of significant proportions for Leverkusen not to win the title this season.

"I have no hope anymore. Congratulations to Leverkusen," conceded Bayern Munich boss, Thomas Tuchel, as quoted by the Athletic.

Alonso could also win the treble with Leverkusen in the Europa League quarter-finals and the DFB-Pokal semi-finals.

To manage all these while maintaining a 39-game unbeaten streak in only your first full season as a manager is remarkable, to say the least.

Which is why two of his former clubs, who are set to be managerless this summer, were looking his way to replace Jurgen Klopp and Tuchel.

No disrespect to Leverkusen, but any manager would jump at the opportunity to coach a club of the stature of Liverpool or Bayern Munich. But not Alonso.

"[Leverkusen is] the right place for me to be, to develop as a coach. The fans showed great support this year. They have all the reasons to believe and dream we can have a great season. The players gave me so many reasons to keep believing in the team. My job is not over here," he said to the Bundesliga website.

Why Liverpool, Bayern are unstable projects for Alonso

From where I sit, the bold decision could pay off for the 42-year-old who, despite a brilliant season, has yet to achieve anything in terms of silverware. The correctness of that decision can be explained by breaking down the 'deficiencies' of the two clubs he was primed to join.

1. Liverpool

Klopp will leave 'orphans' at the end of his nine-year tenure in Merseyside. The German manager arrived in 2015 and asked the supporters to believe - and believe they did. he will leave having won every major trophy available at least once.

The former Borussia Dortmund manager curved his philosophy into the players and fans, and even on days they appeared to be losing, the resilient spirit still rose and defied the odds. Klopp made a team out of his own image.

It would be very difficult for the incoming manager to woo the players and fans to his side without them drawing quick comparisons to what 'Klopp used to do'.

Additionally, the rumour mill has linked the leading stars like Mohamed Salah and Virgil Van Dijk to follow Klopp out of the exit door. These two have been the club's leading performers; any manager would want them to be part of the rebuild.

It is, therefore, risky to take up the Liverpool job immediately after a behemoth like Klopp has just left. People would want results immediately, and for a manager who is still learning the ropes, the intensity of the Premier League might just tank him.

2. Bayern Munich

Having conquered Germany already, it looked feasible for Alonso to move South and take up the hot seat in Bavaria. The assumption is that if he can do it with Leverkusen, then he can turn around the underperforming giants of Bayern Munich.

However, the Bavarians have been unstable with managers and are always seen as a revolving door. In the last 16 years, only Pep Guardiola lasted for more than two years, as shown on the club's website. From politics to player revolt to criticism from club legends, there is always something forcing a manager out of Allianz Arena.

That is the last thing Alonso will need in his career. It is still too early to tell if he can handle club politics and be a manager at the same time.

What next for Alonso?

Doing it once (assuming he will win the Bundesliga) is somewhat easy; the trick is defending your title. Alonso will be put under intense scrutiny next season. Can he do it again back-to-back?

Leverkusen could also cash in on some of the leading stars in Alonso's team, like Florian Wirtz and Jeremie Frimpong, which would require the 2010 World Cup winner to create a new team.

Is Alonso eyeing the Real Madrid job?

Aside from that, his contract in Leverkusen runs until 2026, the same as Carlo Ancelotti's at Real Madrid. There have been rumours that he was interested in managing one of his former clubs, just not Liverpool or Bayern Munich. Could he be setting himself up for the Bernabeu job?

At that time, Florentino Perez would have assembled an exciting squad made up of Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo up front, with the likes of Jude Bellingham, Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Arda Guler in midfield.

Alphonso Davies is a possibility in the summer, making up an entire squad of galacticos to dominate Europe. Brazilian sensation, Endrick, is also expected to have come through the ranks by then.

Whether Alonso is playing the long game or not, remaining at Leverkusen for next season was a bold call. But then again, no manager has ever been great without making bold calls.

De Zerbi's warning to Brighton

Sports Brief has also previously reported that Roberto De Zerbi has sent a warning to Brighton amid rumoured interest from Liverpool.

The Reds have reportedly turned their attention to the Italian manager as one of the options to replace Jurgen Klopp at the end of the season.

Xabi Alonso had been primed to take over at Merseyside, but the ex-player has chosen to remain with Leverkusen for at least another season.

Authors
Martin Moses photo
Martin Moses
Martin Moses is a sports journalist with over five years of experience in media. He graduated from Multimedia University of Kenya (Bachelor of Journalism, 2017-2021)
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Thomas TuchelJürgen Klopp