Opinion | What Xabi Alonso can learn from Julian Nagelsmann

This week saw a ramp-up in speculation surrounding Xabi Alonso’s future at Bayer Leverkusen. Whilst this is all rather pointless as this ‘saga’ will not see a decision for another three months. Looking at his potential employers there is one man that Alonso can look to to help make his decision:

Julian Nagelsmann 

When joining Bayern, Nagelsmann had an impressive CV for his age including leading RB Leipzig to a Champions League semi-final and leading Hoffenheim into the Champions League. The young coach was the next best thing in the world of football and he joined the club he supported as a child in 2021 on a five-year contract (2026) after Bayern paid Leipzig €25m. Upon Nagelsmann joining Bayern, president Herbert Hainer said: “We are convinced that with Julian Nagelsmann, we can continue the magnificent successes of recent years.” 

18 months later, Nagelsmann was sacked after a Bundesliga title win with the club still competing for three trophies. 

With the speculation surrounding Alonso’s future, it is possible that Groundhog Day could become a real thing in Bavaria. 

Although aspects of the board are different, Hainer, Uli Hoeneß and Karl-Heinz Rummenigge are still around in one way or another. The culture at Bayern is still the same, and that is win and win now. Bayern are not the type of team that allows a rebuild to happen and the pressure on the coach is some of the greatest in world football, this has seen some of the best coaches around fold under such pressure such as Carlo Ancelotti, Thomas Tuchel and Nagelsmann. 

What does this mean for Alonso, if Bayern can easily dismiss a Bayern fan that they paid €25m for, then they can do it again and the Spaniard could easily end up like Nagelsmann and be promised the world at Bayern only to be dismissed within two years due to a decline in performances. 

Compare this to Alonso’s current situation at Leverkusen where he has the power to impact the building of the squad and can work in tandem with sporting director Simon Rolfes to achieve something great. Alonso’s presence at Leverkusen has seen Granit Xhaka and Alejandro Grimaldo move to the club, whilst Edmond Tapsoba, Exequiel Palacios and Jeremie Frimpong have all committed to the club. 

Whilst at a team such as Liverpool, despite the claim that taking over from manager Jürgen Klopp is a difficult job. A fresh start would be needed at the club and Alonso can provide this, while also inheriting a squad that would only need slight adjustments to fit his style of play. 

With two months left of the season, we should just appreciate what Alonso has done and is doing at Leverkusen on three different fronts instead of immediately thinking about next season. However, you will likely see continued rumours about the future of the former midfielder from people who know just as much as the rest of us, nothing. 

GGFN | Jack Meenan 

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