'It's part of the business' - Xabi Alonso-linked sporting director responds to Liverpool speculation

Liverpool are not only searching for a successor to Jurgen Klopp as manager but for a whole new backroom team. 

Assistant manager Pep Lijnders, Klopp’s trusted lieutenant Peter Krawietz and Elite Development Coach Vitor Matos are all set to leave at the end of the season, while sporting director Jorg Schmadte has already left his post. 

Bayer Leverkusen’s Xabi Alonso is the hottest property in the management game having led the club to the top of the Bundesliga, where they hold an eight-point lead over Bayern Munich. 

The 42-year-old was immediately installed as frontrunner for the Liverpool job, where he excelled as a player between 2004 and 2009. 

Alonso, a World Cup winner with Spain, has a clear affinity with the Kop having won the Champions League and FA Cup during his time at Anfield. 

Klopp has even anointed Alonso as the “standout” manager of his generation in what was widely seen as an endorsement for the ex-midfielder to succeed him on Merseyside. 

While Alonso’s work at Leverkusen has been remarkable, turning a relegation-threatened club into title contenders in less than two years, he hasn’t constructed this side alone. 

Rolfes the architect of Leverkusen's remarkable season

The club’s Manager Director Sports Simon Rolfes is widely regarded as the architect of Leverkusen’s success having moved up from Head of Youth and Development to sporting director before entering his current position in summer 2022. 

He oversaw the appointment of Alonso as well as the recruitment of Leverkusen’s current crop of stars. 

Rolfes, 42, plucked Florian Wirtz from the Koln youth ranks and is responsible for the signings of Alex Grimaldo, Piero Hincapie, the Liverpool-linked Jeremie Frimpong and Victor Boniface among others. 

He convinced Alonso to sign renewed terms at the BayArena, extending his contract to 2026, and has pledged his own future to the club by renewing until 2028. 

As such, he has been linked as a possible sporting director for Liverpool as they move on with their post-Klopp shakeup.

Simon Rolfes Leverkusen

Simon Rolfes Leverkusen

A report this week suggested the Anfield side were planning a double raid on Leverkusen’s offices with Alonso and Rolfes lined up to take over from Klopp and Schmadtke. 

The report has caused quite a stir in Germany, where Kicker put the question to former midfielder Rolfes on Tuesday. 

“The fact that there is speculation about the protagonists of Bayer 04 is part of the business. But that doesn't change my orientation. It’s not without reason that I only extended my contract in the fall,” he said

The recruitment chief was unequivocal in his commitment to Leverkusen, which might be expected given they are closing in on a first-ever Bundesliga title. However, come the end of the season, what happens with Alonso and his boss is anyone’s guess. 

Share This Article