Xabi Alonso is the frontrunner among all candidates tipped to succeed Jürgen Klopp as Liverpool manager this summer after the latter revealed the current campaign will be his last at Anfield.
Now, German media outlets are even reporting the players Alonso would want to bring with him were he to be named as Klopp’s successor.
Alonso has led Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga this season, playing slick, attacking football with a well-drilled group.
Even if the Werkself fail to end Bayern Munich’s 11-year stranglehold on German football, the Spaniard will not be short of offers if he decides to leave at the end of the season.
Should he be handed the Liverpool job, he would face a difficult task restoring calm to the Reds fanbase, who were shook by Klopp’s January announcement, as well as rumours that both of Virgil van Dijk and Mohamed Salah would look to follow Klopp through the exit door.
German outlet SportBild reports that Alonso would want to bring in a defender and a forward player if he were to become Liverpool’s next manager, and he would want to sign trusted players from Leverkusen for those positions.
According to SportBild, Alonso would be keen to sign defender Jonathan Tah, 27, to boost Liverpool’s backline options, as well as starlet Florian Wirtz, 20, to add more firepower to the Reds attack.
Tah has been a linchpin in a Leverkusen defence which has comfortably conceded fewer goals than any other side in the Bundesliga this season.
The Germany international has won praise for his calm leadership and aggressive defending, as well as his composure on the ball when building attacks. It is thought that Tah could be available for as little as €18 million due to a clause in his contract.
The move could help facilitate Liverpool’s potential switch to a back three next season – the formation having provided the foundation on which Leverkusen’s title pursuit has been built.
Wirtz, another Germany international, is considered one of the brightest attacking talents on the continent, ranking in the Bundesliga’s top three for successful dribbles, sprints and key passes this season.
Not turning 21 until May, the playmaker has 12 goal involvements in 19 Bundesliga showing this term and is widely tipped to win player of the season. Wirtz’s future is said to “hinge on Alonso’s position as Leverkusen coach”, meaning he could insist on a move to wherever his manager goes next season.
Wirtz could be an ideal long-term successor to Salah, who looks destined to depart for the Saudi Pro League in future. He is valued at €100m by Transfermarkt.