By: Karl Tippins
Xabi Alonso doesn’t play every game for Bayern Munich, but when he does play the influence he exerts over the team is clear to see. Despite his advancing years - Alonso is now 34 - and the enormous quality in-depth enjoyed at Bayern, speculation that he will leave the Bavarians when his contract expires in the summer has led to many comments from fans and those within the club hoping he will stay.
Such has been the extent of the rumors linking Alonso with a move away that Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge today told Germany’s Sport Bild newspaper that he expects the Spanish maestro to extend his contract.
Rummenigge told Bild, "In the near future we'll give the situation some concrete thought and hold talks with Xabi and his agent. There is no truth in the rumors that he's planning his departure.
"He has led me to understand that he is interested in staying at Bayern. Xabi Alonso is a fine player who performs a very important role in our team."
Among the rumored potential destinations for Alonso were Major League Soccer – though no specific teams were mentioned – and a return to Liverpool. While Alonso might not have the legs to get fully involved with
Jürgen Klopp’s now world famous gegenpressing tactical style, one would expect he would bring something to the party given his remaining quality. Most Liverpool fans, and indeed soccer fans in general who follow the English Premier League, still feel that the club still misses Alonso, who was allowed to leave the club for Real Madrid in 2009 as then Anfield boss Rafa Benitez thought Gareth Barry was on his way to the club. Even if Barry had signed, it is fair to say that Alonso would still have been missed.
Speculation surrounding the departure of Alonso has been intrinsically linked with that of Pep Guardiola’s contract situation at Allianz Arena. It is widely thought Pep and Bayern have reached ‘crunch time’ in their contract negotiations, and while publicly the club have said they expect the coach to stay, privately they must be preparing for the possibility of him leaving, with Manchester City his likely destination.
It would not be beyond the realms of possibility that Guardiola would look to take a player such as Alonso with him to his next destination, even if just for his experience, though if the manager was looking to implement his style of play quickly within a club, Alonso would be a great asset to have in this regard, too.