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Xabi Alonso is wanted by Liverpool and Bayern Munich – which club are the better bet?

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Xabi Alonso is a man with options.

There is a danger that the remainder of this season will turn into one long recruitment process, rather than what he hopes will be the run-in to the first title win by a German club not called Bayern Munich since 2012.



For some sort of cultural context, the last time Bayern were not reigning Bundesliga champions, TikTok didn’t exist, Taylor Swift was merely a successful country singer and Jude Bellingham was nine.



The scale of Alonso’s potential achievement, if Bayer Leverkusen go on to win the league, should not be underestimated, which is precisely why he is so in demand.



Indeed their core group – Alisson, Virgil van Dijk, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Mohamed Salah – are better than you’ll find at most clubs, not just Bayern.

The German champions clearly have some brilliant players, not least arguably the best No 9 in the world in Harry Kane, plus Jamal Musiala, Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies, but the general quality is lower, a point underlined by their indifferent recent results.

Harry Kane is one of Bayern’s prize assets (Alberto Pizzoli/AFP via Getty Images)

The question of which squad is more suited to Alonso’s style is a trickier one.

It has been pointed out that Liverpool’s current approach is very different to how Leverkusen have operated this season, but many of the players currently at Anfield are pretty adaptable, and they do have the sort of attacking full-backs who could fit as wing-backs, if he wanted to switch to that formation.

GO DEEPER

Xabi Alonso's Leverkusen tactics and Liverpool's squad are not a natural fit

The spending power

Bayern clearly have the allure and the money to essentially buy anyone they want from the Bundesliga, so if Alonso wanted to take pretty much anybody who has thrived under him at Leverkusen along if he chooses Bavaria, then he probably could.

That said, both the financial clout of the Premier League and Liverpool’s recent history suggest that they are prepared to outmuscle most other clubs for a player if they really want him.

This is a long way off, and in the realm of the theoretical, but, given that he prefers playing with a double pivot at Leverkusen, top of his list would most likely be another No 6-type midfielder.

GO DEEPER

Why Alonso is the 'outstanding candidate' to replace Klopp at Liverpool

The infrastructure

This is one of the great unknowns for Liverpool.

But Alonso at least will have the comfort of knowing who he’d be working with in Munich.

He is likely to face more pressure and ‘contact’ from the very top of the club if he went to Bayern, where former players and executives are rarely shy of sharing their opinions, whereas at Liverpool he’d have more of a chance of being left alone to work as he pleased.

The emotional connection

Both clubs will argue that they have the upper hand here.

Being the immediate successor to a generational legend rarely ends well, as David Moyes and Unai Emery will tell you.

That said, a combination of his existing relationship with the club and the fans, plus the fact that success isn’t expected in quite the same way at Liverpool as it is with Bayern, means that he will be afforded much more patience on Merseyside than in Bavaria.

At Bayern, winning the league title is considered the bare minimum, whereas with Liverpool second place is not viewed as a cataclysmic failure — especially not with Manchester City hoovering up titles at every turn.

There will still be pressure, but it will not be quite as oppressive at Liverpool.

GO DEEPER

Karl-Heinz Riedle: 'You won't find a double of Klopp - but Alonso would be a fantastic choice'

The lifestyle

Alonso lived in Liverpool’s city centre rather than in one of the suburbs typically called home by their players.

By moving there, Alonso would by definition have removed their biggest domestic challengers’ main asset: himself.

Borussia Dortmund and RB Leipzig have threatened to topple Bayern in the last decade but never quite managed to actually do it, whereas one of the main drawbacks of life in the Premier League is you have to deal with the behemoth that resides in Manchester’s Etihad Stadium.

You have to pretty much get everything right to effectively challenge City, and even that often isn’t good enough.

GO DEEPER

'Yes!

Then again, it’s very easy to say that from afar, and when you haven’t got two of the biggest clubs in the world chasing you.

We’re probably in ‘world’s smallest violin’ territory here, as Alonso faces the equivalent of being forced to choose between the luxury mansion and a palatial penthouse (or the comfortable semi-detached that he has made his home over the past 14 months), but he faces a colossal decision that could define the rest of his career in management when it’s barely started.

It’s a privileged, but unenviable position to be in.

GO DEEPER

If Liverpool want Alonso, they should be careful others don't get there first

(Top photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images)


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