• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
businessday logo


Alonso rules out Leverkusen summer exit amid Liverpool interest

Xabi Alonso

Xabi Alonso has confirmed his intention to remain with Bundesliga leaders Bayer Leverkusen this summer despite strong offers from Bayern Munich and Liverpool.

The Spanish manager assumed his role at Leverkusen in October 2022, steering the German side out of the relegation zone to a commendable sixth-place finish in his inaugural managerial season.

Currently, Leverkusen are on the verge of a historic season, unbeaten in all competitions and on the brink of winning their first-ever Bundesliga title. They currently enjoy a 10-point advantage over second-place Bayern with eight games to go.

Moreover, Leverkusen have progressed to the Europa League quarter-finals, set to clash with Premier League outfit West Ham United, and the German Cup semi-finals, where they will challenge Fortuna Dusseldorf.

Alonso’s remarkable achievements have captured the attention of Bayern and Liverpool, both seeking successors for their departing managers, Thomas Tuchel and Jurgen Klopp, respectively.

Despite the allure of returning to former clubs where Alonso enjoyed a glittering playing career, the 42-year-old has concluded that Leverkusen is the optimal environment for his managerial growth.

“It’s been a season we have had a lot of speculation regarding my future,” Alonso said while reflecting on his decision to stay at the BayArena stadium.

“Until now we have had so many games, and been pretty busy and focused, and I wanted to reflect during the international break and make a decision.

“At the moment this is the right place for me to develop as a coach, I am a young coach. Right now this is the right place. I have to thank the management.”

Acknowledging his ties to Liverpool and Bayern, Alonso emphasised his commitment to Leverkusen, expressing gratitude for the club’s support and the fans’ unwavering backing.

“The club have been supportive and I feel respected by all departments. The fans have shown great support and they have reasons to believe and dream we will have a great season. I have a great staff to help me work day by day, and so for the players, ” Alonso added.

Alonso played 210 games for Premier League title hopefuls Liverpool from 2004/09 season when he won the Uefa Champions League, Uefa Super Cup and FA Cup.

Jurgen Klopp who is set to leave Liverpool after nine years in charge of the Merseyside club in February praised Alonso as the “standout” among a new generation of football coaches.

“Xabi is doing an incredible job,” Klopp said.

“The football he is playing, the teams he sets up, the transfers he did, it is exceptional.”

When asked about Alonso’s decision to stay where he is in a press conference ahead of Liverpool’s Premier League match against Brighton at Anfield on Sunday, Klopp said that he understood the call.

“One part I can speak about is a young manager where he is doing well. Being at a club in a similar situation, I did pretty much the same and I never regretted it,” added Klopp. “That’s pretty much everything I can say about it.

“He is doing an incredible job there. Leverkusen has a good team and they will probably keep the team together. That’s a possibility and not all years it is like that. So I understand that he wants to do that. As for the other stuff, I have nothing to say about it. That’s it.”

Alonso joined Bayern Munich from Real Madrid in 2014, making 117 appearances while winning the Bundesliga title three times and the German Cup once before retiring from playing in 2017.