Bayer Leverkusen not only have one of the most coveted youngsters in the game in Florian Wirtz, but manager Xabi Alonso, in the space of little over a year, has made himself one of the hottest properties on the managerial market too.
Taking over last season with Leverkusen second-bottom, Alonso turned the ship around, and secured a European finish last season. This year he has them top of the Bundesliga, playing some of the best football in Europe.
With Carlo Ancelotti out of contract at Real Madrid next summer, and Liverpool wondering who might succeed Jurgen Klopp when he decides to move on, speculation has been rife about Alonso’s future. Last week various reports emerged about the value of Alonso’s release clause, while others claimed that only former clubs Real Madrid, Liverpool and Bayern Munich could activate that. Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro has denied the existence of any such clause.
“No but you don’t need a clause. We have a very, very good relationship with Xabi and he knows that we are a serious club.”
“At the end of the day, we’re not going to force someone to stay if he doesn’t want to stay. We want him to feel so happy and so good with us that he really only wants to stay and this is our objective.”
Pressed on whether there was a specific clause in his contract though, Carro told Talksport that this was not the case – but neither are they closing the door on his departure.
“No nothing on paper but sometimes agreements that are not on paper are agreements as well and we know that if he needs to do a move in the future we’ll be able to talk with each other.”
“I hope we will not need to do this because he will stay and be happy in Leverkusen.”
While almost any manager would jump at the chance to manage any of the three of his former clubs, Alonso is characterised by his patience, and in contrast to many other managers, may feel confident enough in his own ability that those opportunities will be available to him down the line. Alonso had chances to jump into top level management prior to Leverkusen, but began his career in Real Madrid’s youth ranks, before taking on the B team at Real Sociedad.