Xabi Alonso sent clear message as Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen fight for him | Football | Sport

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Xabi Alonso has been told to join Liverpool in the summer and snub interest from Premier League rivals Chelsea. An overwhelming majority of Express Sport readers want the former Reds midfielder to replace Jurgen Klopp at Anfield.

Alonso is one of Europe’s most highly-rated coaches having guided Bayer Leverkusen to an unbeaten season. A 3-0 demolition of Thomas Tuchel’s Bayern Munich in a crunch top-of-the-table clash last Saturday was the perfect audition.

The 42-year-old is the strong favourite to succeed Klopp when the German steps aside after nine remarkable years on Merseyside. However, Alonso has also been linked with Chelsea, Bayern and Real Madrid, while he could decide to remain with Bayer.

Express Sport readers are desperate to see Alonso return to Liverpool, where he made 210 appearances between 2004 and 2010. In a poll, 62 per cent voted in favour of him moving to Anfield.

Fans were more in favour of Alonso remaining at Bayer over joining Chelsea. Only eight per cent believe he should join the Blues if Mauricio Pochettino is sacked. Thirty per cent say he should stay with the Bundesliga leaders, who now have a five-point lead over Bayern.

Alonso stopped short of ruling out moving to Liverpool after Klopp’s departure was announced in January. “Speculation is normal, my focus is here on Bayer Leverkusen,” he said.

“I am very happy at Leverkusen with my players at the moment. [It was a] big surprise in Liverpool, of course — for what Jurgen did in Liverpool I have great respect and admiration.

“I am on a beautiful journey in Leverkusen. The next one, I don’t know. I am thinking about where I am right now. I am in a great place and I am enjoying.”

Bayer sporting director Simon Rolfes has thrown a spanner in the works, though. He insists that Alonso will remain at the club into next season, claiming that his contract – which runs until 2026 – and the Spaniard’s happiness in Germany points towards a long-term tenure.

“Yes, I’m sure [he will stay]. The first thing is the structure of the contract,” Rolfes told German broadcaster Sport1.

“The other is how good he feels – his family, himself – and that he knows what he has at the club. Also, that he has a very good team, we have very good prospects next year, and there won’t be any upheaval in the team. Next year, we’re certain to have a top team at our disposal.”

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