'Xabi knows what he has' - Leverkusen chief speaks out over Liverpool manager target's future

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Simon Rolfes is remaining 'calm and optimistic' about the future of Xabi Alonso, despite interest from both Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

The 42-year-old is the standout candidate to replace Jurgen Klopp as Liverpool manager at the end of the season, while he is also coveted by another of his former clubs as a player in Bayern.

Alonso has risen to the top of the wish list for both clubs after a phenomenal season in charge of Leverkusen, who remain unbeaten in 2023/24 and sit eight points clear at the top of the Bundesliga.

While reports claim that Liverpool have already begun their approach for for the former midfield playmaker, the man himself has remained coy on his future.

"Right now I’m the coach [of Leverkusen]. That's for sure," he told a recent press conference. "I have nothing new to say for the future.

"We will see. It's normal that there are questions, but it's off-topic now. Now is not the time for me to talk much about it.”

When asked whether he would continue to lead Leverkusen into next season, Alonso, whose contract in Germany runs until 2026, replied that he was "assuming that right now".

Meanwhile, Leverkusen sporting director Rolfes has maintained a positive outlook, despite the interest in his star asset.

Speaking to the Saarbruecker Zeitung, the club chief said: “I remain calm and optimistic.

“The most important thing with managers is that they feel comfortable and have the feeling that they are in the right place.

“Xabi knows what he has at the club. He has often said that. That’s how he works with his team and his coaching team every day.

“There are many conjunctures in the world. Not all of them have to materialise.”

'Small percentage' Alonso stays at Leverkusen

 

Rolfes' optimism is not shared by Fabrizio Romano, however.

In in his Daily Briefing, the transfer reporter claimed that while Alonso is 'focussed' on the task at hand at Leverkusen, there is only a 'very small percentage' he continues at the BayArena beyond 2023/24.

He wrote: “My understanding is that Xabi Alonso himself wants to take some time because he wants to focus on Bayer Leverkusen.

“So, he knows about this interest, obviously, but at the moment he doesn’t want to sign anything or to agree with any club in February, in March, because his focus remains on Bayer Leverkusen.

“Some important people at Leverkusen also hope he could be persuaded to stay for one more year.

“I think it’s a very small percentage that we see Xabi Alonso staying at Bayer Leverkusen in the summer.”

Meanwhile, according to reports, Leverkusen are ready to ask for as much as €25m (£21.4m) in order to part with Alonso — a near-record fee for a manager.

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