All the reasons why Liverpool, not Bayern Munich, is the right job for Xabi Alonso

Editor F365
Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso
Xabi Alonso is attracting interest from both Liverpool and Bayern Munich.

The Mailbox disputes the theory that Bayern Munich would be a better career move for Xabi Alonso than Liverpool. Also: Man Utd are back under new management; and stick your red flags where the sun don’t shine.

Get your views in to theeditor@football365.com

Anfield > Allianz Arena for Alonso
I disagree with Andrew M from Streatham about Alonso going to Bayern.

Apart from listening to Archie Rhind-Tutt state that he doesn’t think Alonso wants to go to Bayern, Alonso’s got a good reason not to go there and ironically it could be Jurgen Klopp.

We’ve all seen how regularly Bayern change their managers. They sacked Nagelsmann midway through the season when they were second. The players sound like they’re difficult to work with. Alonso would be arriving at a club and squad that assumes the Bundesliga as its birthright. How receptive is the squad to change? Can that squad play in a similar way or would Alonso need time to work out something a more appropriate solution? Will he even get that time?

He probably won’t. He’s going from a club in Leverkusen that is rightly proud to be top and is happy to be there, to a club that stresses out when they’re second.

And if he finishes second, who are the fans going to clamber for? Jurgen Klopp.

At Liverpool, he won’t face that pressure. The ghost of Klopp will be in the past, not the future. FSG will give him time. (Most) Liverpool fans have learned to be patient; I will always be amazed at how the atmosphere didn’t go toxic in the 2022-23 season where we finished 5th and it’s a credit to the fans that they didn’t, because it’s paid off this season.

For these reasons, I think the two options available are (1) come to Liverpool or (2) stay at Leverkusen.

As a Liverpool fan, I was so sad when he left, so it’ll be a dream for him to come back.
Natalie Lawrence

 

…Guys, you can write as much as you want about why Bayern would be the better pick for him next season and Liverpool the worst. But I think that when Liverpool came clean about Klopp’s future they did it, because they already had Alonso’s promise in the bag, only with the condition to not communicate it in order to not impair his season with Bayer Leverkusen.
And Liverpool would be a better move than Bayern:
1) If he went to Bayern, there would be an enormous pressure to win titles each and every season, especially now with Bayern on course for a titleless one.
2) He’d have to go against Bayer, the team he formed, which would be like Klopp switching to Arsenal after Liverpool won the title.
3) Liverpool will end the season with a team in their prime; Bayern will have to be rebuilt.
4) With Bayern, the manager doesn’t have much influence on the players that are bought. I mean, Tuchel repeated over and over again that they had not enough players in defense and not a proper  6 after his fashion. He got nothing, though. With Liverpool, that would be a lot easier.
5) Prem is much more of a challenge and does more for the rep. Winning a title or three with Bayern? It’s like with PSG. Winning a title in England? Means, ending up at Real Madrid, not necessarily after Ancelotti, but in a couple of years.

Of course, second-best would still be staying at Bayer for another year. Bayern is currently nearly as difficult as Manchester United has been (which might end up with Tuchel as replacement for Ten Hag, ironically).

Bottom line is, I would be VERY surprised if Alonso would switch to Bayern.

Cheers
JJ, Germany

Read more: Five reasons why Xabi Alonso should choose Bayern Munich over Liverpool

United are back
We can finally – after almost 20 years – see not only light at the end of the nightmare tunnel of Glazer ownership but maybe even the green fields and blue sky appearing. Anyone who actually knows anything about how an organisation – much less a football club – is run would take a look at the Glazer mismanagement and break down in tears. Rival fans excluded of course. Over the Glazer’s reign only City and Chelsea have spent more than the Glazers have taken OUT of United. Incredible stuff. For the first time in 20 years United look to once again be a football club, not a piggy for some rich, apathetic Americans.

So I can confidently say, United will resume its place among the more consistent top English clubs. I.e., in the medium term it will trend towards the top 3. And with Klopp leaving and one assumes Guardiola at some stage, United may well see another title in my lifetime. Not something I ever thought would happen under the Glazers. Any success over the past few seasons has been in spite of the ownership – the dithering, the egos, the failures – not because of it.

Exciting times. However, very briefly, with the announcement that our only left back in the squad is going to miss the rest of the season, I can also confidently say that this won’t be the year we put 2 CL finishes in a row together for the first time in a decade. So much of the patchy success we do have right now is driven by Martinez and Shaw, who will basically have gone a season without playing together. I had been sure that we’d catch at least one team in front of us, but having literally one footballing full back in a squad is not going to pan out for us.
Ryan, Bermuda

 

Keep the red flags flying high​
Its obvious that saying anything bad about Manchester United get clicks going and F365 seems to be really relishing that with completely off-hand digs at Ten Hag and players even in articles or sections not about them! The latest one from F365 on “red flags” from Ratcliffe really takes the cake though. Now no one knows whether Ratcliffe will help turn this sleeping giant around the corner or not but the least they can get is a clean slate but that would not allow for “football news” sites like F365 generate mindless clicks.
Some of the “red flags” written point:
– Mason Greenwood: As someone who wasnt the part of the club when the Greenwood internal investigation took place and wasnt part of the decision to integrate/not integrate or buy/sell/loan was made what else is Ratcliffe supposed to do/say in such a situation? F365 goes one step further and brings up a statement about people not making the same mistake again from a completely different question about INEOS experience with other clubs just to make the outrage seem valid. In all likelyhood Greenwood will be sold off this summer, but by no means should Ratcliffe/Ten Hag show their desperation to force him out. We have never been a great selling club and they should not continue this trend by letting Greenwood leave for peanuts (there definitely wont be the same outrage if he plays for any other club so why should Manchester United sell him on the cheap)
– Newcastle and being mean? Ah so Ratcliffe wants Ashworth so he should just pay up? And there is no incentive for Newcastle to let him go earlier? It seems like F365 needs to understand the concept of gardening leave better. Ashworth was signed on to help the Newcastle project, he now has his head turned and Newcastle have two options – either force him to stay and work for a project hes no longer invested in or force him to finish his gardening leave (while on full pay!) until he can start a new role! Manchester United have no incentive to pay up whatever Newcastle are demanding. Right now its a lose-lose for both clubs with both sides waiting to see who will blink first. They will most likely reach a compensation amount but to pay up 20m based on the first amount demanded would be silly and am glad to see Ratcliffe learning from past Manchester United mistakes.
– Pretty words for Sheikh Jassim? Attempt at humor? I dont think hes said anything that was not accurate. The Glazers did not ever meet Jassim and the reason why Jassim finally withdrew his bid was there was no proof of funds to move to the next step of the bidding process. You see when you are a publicly traded company a secretive head of state with bucket loads of money cant just throw money at you till you accept. Jassim’s bid or interest never resulted in a legitimate bid. Saying the right things about Old Trafford redevelopment and winning trophies is apparently a red flag! Surely he should have started with – Hey I’m here to make money and could not give any less of a shit for all you buggers out here.

Ratcliffe has definitely talked the talk, now he has to walk the walk and show what changes he can get through. We seem to be heading on the right path and cant have any complaints till now, I for one am more optimistic than have been in a long time inspite of these “red flags”
YH, MUFC

Read more: Mason Greenwood and four other red flags from Ratcliffe’s cosy press-pack chat

… On F365: ‘He’s still a billionaire, for one thing, an inherently bad and unjustifiable concept. That’s kind of unavoidable, though, when you’re Manchester United and capitalism still hasn’t been overthrown.’

What the f*ck is even this?

I mean, I like F365, but do we really have to digest this GCSE sociology-level sh*te alongside our football news? It’s hard work to read, it really is. Maybe start another website called Socialism365 to indulge your entry-level political analysis and just let us enjoy F365 as a football website.
RQT (MUFC)

 

Taxing issue
So, I was reading the interview in the Grauniad with Jim Ratcliffe, following a headline about perches. The perch comment wasn’t as aggressive as the headline writers might want us to believe, and I suppose that channeling the spirit of United past is a reasonable gambit for him to take. It’s a nod to a time and to rhetoric that will appeal to older school United fans. It will, of course, bite him on the arse if he doesn’t turn things around, but he has to start off being confident and making all the right noises.

Then he spoke about a three year plan, which is probably not really in place yet, but again, he seemed to be making all the right noises, and actually, was coming across as a fairly sensible, reasonable and pragmatic man, much to my surprise.

But then, he showed us who he really is, behind all the PR bluster.

He was asked about accessing public funds (ie money generated by taxing the general public) to rebuild the stadium that the club have failed to invest in, despite turning over countless billions of pounds in the last two decades. The project would cost an estimated 2bn (but will almost certainly cost more), so we are talking about accessing hundreds of millions of pounds from the public coffers, possibly in excess of one billion. And his reply:

“In an ideal world I think it’s a no‑brainer,” he said. “We would want a stadium in the north, a stadium of the north, which would be a world‑class stadium where England could play and you could have the FA Cup final. But you have got to be practical about life.”

F*ck me gently with a chainsaw. One of the richest clubs in one of the richest sports fails to maintain its major income generator, a club whose owners have withdrawn over one billion pounds to add to their obscene fortunes, and the British tax payer, apparently, should make this up, a decision so obvious, that it is a “no brainer”? And there we see him for what he is, a man who has denied the taxman a reported four billion pounds in revenue by moving to Monaco, a man being investigated by the Charities Commission, a man who is an unapologetic environment polluter. And of course, he supported Brexit, even though he is not a resident of the UK any more.

And this idea, an attempt to make it look like it would benefit “the people”, a Wembley of the North, if you’ve fallen for that then I have some shares in London Bridge at a very reasonable price that I can sell you.

Jesus, as if I needed any more reasons to hate Manchester United.

He also has an idea that a committee will decide on the style of football that the team should play – using such footballing behemoths as Sir Dave Brailsford and Omar Berrara – and will inform the manager accordingly, news that must be the sweetest of music to the ears of Erik.

Let’s all hope that it ends in tears – success here is far from assured, and it could be the beginning of a whole new soap opera. Fingers crossed.
Mat

 

Ashworth compo
I hope this won’t come across as whining – I recognize the financial advantages NUFC’s shady owners provide, even if they are hobbled by P&S rules – but it seems to me that Newcastle United should be due compensation from Manchester United over Dan Ashworth, quite apart from whatever they may require for ending Ashworth’s contract so his “gardening leave” can be ended.

After all, MU’s approach has left NUFC in a position where they’re still paying Ashworth despite being unable to allow him to work because his priorities and loyalty have been transferred to the Manchester club. Every day’s access to our scouting systems and financial reports would (or could; but as with national intelligence, capabilities matter more than intent in corporate decisions) eventually provide ManU with ill-gotten insider information. That’s presuming he isn’t already communicating with Ratcliffe’s people on a burner phone every day, busily spilling everything he knows.

Meanwhile, Newcastle must continue to pay his salary until he’s freed from his contract. That’s clearly unfair, and the circumstances arose because MUFC chose to interfere with a Newcastle United employee. Presumably, circumstances were similar when NUFC tapped Ashworth up from Bolton, and they were probably unfairly hurt by Newcastle’s interest and thus deserve some compensation (if a bit less, given Ashworth’s meatier contract at Newcastle). I find it astonishing that clubs have no recourse in positions such as this under English law.

The same may be true in the US, for all I know; certainly even in my lowly job, if I gave my notice and announced my intent to go to work with one of my company’s competitors, they’d treat me exactly like NUFC did Ashworth, disabling my access to systems and requiring the return of all confidential information.

I think a counter-argument could be built based on labor’s freedom to choose (or end) employment, but I find it difficult to think of people on salaries like Ashworth’s as “labor.”
Chris C, Toon Army DC

 

FSG v Glazers
I for the most part enjoyed Peter Fitzpatrick’s article discussing similarities to the final days of both Klopp and Ferguson. While a like for like comparison is difficult based on Ferguson’s longevity and Klopp playing in a time where the “Big 4” are not as far removed from the rest of the pack as they were for the later part of Ferguson’s tenure, both men had the ability to create teams that were greater than the sum of their (still impressive) parts.

Where I take issue with Peter is at the end of his column where he says that both Ferguson and Klopp were able to “… shield the American owners that employ(ed) them in the process”. To even remotely compare the klepto culture of the Glazer reign at Manchester United to what FSG are doing at Liverpool is inconceivable.

On the one had you had an ownership group happy to saddle debt onto a club while taking generous dividends while the club’s infrastructure is literally decaying underneath them. The commercial success of the club that was mostly built prior to the Glazer involvement has papered over the cracks in their ownership and allowed the club to continue to spend on players. You can in no way shape or form suggest the club is better off since the Glazers bought them and a huge debt is owed to those who came before.

On the other hand you have FSG. FSG, while far from what most supporters would deem perfect owners (do they exist?) have created a club infrastructure that will outlive them at the Club. They put an end to the near two decades of dithering on Stadiums by working with what they had at Anfield and expanding capacity by over 15,000. They’ve also invested heavily in club infrastructure including the new training base and modernized the club’s commercial operations to take advantage of the global fan base.

They’ve also, much to the annoyance of some Liverpool supporters, clicked into the realities that the club cannot compete with clubs around them on a financial basis and have found other ways to stay competitive. They invest heavily in sports sciences, put resources into the youth set up and created a football hierarchy, including Jurgen Klopp that compliments what the club can do financially and has contributed to a good amount of success on the field.

I suppose Peter’s point of view will be put to the test this summer when Klopp leaves. Will the club continue to kick on? Will FSG get the next appointment right and will they be able to kick on with results on the pitch? Those are all up for debate. What isn’t however is that when Klopp leaves this summer he will be leaving behind a club that still has a good young team, playing in an improved 60,000+ seat stadium with state of the art player development facilities and a club thriving within their means.

Can that be said about the Glazers?
Mark, LFC (If we have to accept the devil that is corporate ownership structures, I’ll stick with my devil)

 

Brave Reds
Can I be the first non-Liverpool fan to congratulate them on their amazing home victory over the behemoths of Luton. I had to write in after Thursday’s mailbox.

Beating the 18th best team in the Premier League at Anfield defiantly means more. Injuries aside, Liverpool could only field a pitiful team worth €296m when compared to the colossal €15m this Luton team was forged from. This is truly another West Brom moment and surely their coronation to the title this year.

I can tell that it’s sent a seismic shock through the entirety of World Football.

Jesus Liverpool fans are muppets.
Weldoninhio, BAC

 

…Long time lurker first time (can’t remember how this ends)

I rarely get into these debates but am starting to get real tired of this brave Liverpool narrative. Reading the emails this morning you would assume that Liverpool just went toe to toe against prime Pep Barca. Guys you beat a team most likely to be relegated and currently stood in the oh almighty position of 18th. Congrats on securing a win against a team that just a week ago lost to Sheffield, at home; so very brave.

You would think that injuries and injury crises were something invented by Liverpool and a situation that no other team has ever faced. We get it, your team has a large number of first teamers injured but this is not an exclusive issue to have afflicted LFC in the history of football now is it. LFC beat a squad that including all players was worth 75m GBP, a number that is dwarfed from the Liverpool starting XI on show last night. Some might call that Goliath trumping David yet again, but LFC supporters call it being brave.

So please get off your high horse and accept that almost every team will face major crises from time to time and a title challenger is expected to beat a team in 18th at home.

PS LEE AFC I got 11 of the 16 on Stewie Bingo, not quite the full house but definitely worth a line I’d say”

Best Regards,
Shy Ronnie (Can’t wait for Curtis Jones to come out and state that they did in fact invent injury crises too)

 

Brave(r) Tottenham
Think Spurs, among the many this season, have a good shout.

Romero – £42m
Perisic – £?
Udogie – £20m
Van de Ven – £45m
Bissouma – £25m
Bentancur – £30m
Sarr – £18m
Son – £26m
Solomon – free
Richarlison – £50m
Sessegnon – £25m
Maddison – £40m
Lo Celso – £30m
Veliz – £15m

Slight chance that the fees aren’t on the money, either more or less, and there is also the potential that all these weren’t unavailable at the exact same time – think Bentancur might well have returned by the time Son had left for Asian Games…but nonetheless – it’s a staggering number of unavailable players.
Dan

 

Dave LFC, we’ve all used the “our team is missing [insert list of players here]” argument to justify losses. But one question, surely when you are talking about a victory how well your team did, it should be about who IS playing, who is ON the pitch, rather than the cost of those who are not? Or am I missing something (other than a centre-forward of course*)?
Carolyn, (disappointed but not disheartened) South London Gooner.
*Arsenal joke

 

Stewie is mostly right
God,I hate myself for saying that.

But as much as I like to hear nothing from him – meaning Arsenal are doing well – I can’t disagree with much of what he says.

Still don’t think we need Havertz and the £65m should have been used elsewhere.

Despite lots and lots of goals against WHU, Palace and Burnley, we need a proper centre forward. I’ve listed 3 pretty poor sides. You don’t find those in the latter stages of the CL.

Arteta doesn’t have a strong enough squad and yes that’s on him (but, it’s not easy to get the players you really want/need – everyone wants them)

Etc etc blah blah….

One thing I will counter however is his belief that ALL Arsenal fans think we’re the ‘real deal’ and ready to conquer the world of football. I just don’t see that. I think we’re all pretty realistic. We probably should have won the league last year and yes, we did mess it up. But that’s sport and the team will hopefully take that pain on board and become stronger/better because of it.

I certainly don’t think for one moment we’ll win the league this season. We ‘could’, but it’ll be nice to be regularly in the top 4 again and that’s a good platform to try to push on to winning the title from. Let’s be honest, it’s very hard to see past City still. When Pep goes, maybe things change?

As for the CL, not a hope in hell. Last night was a flash-back to previous knock out ties and it was all a bit depressing. I think/hope we’ll probably have enough to turn it around at the Emirates (even Stewie thinks it’s likely) but in reality, I can’t see us getting further than the quarter-finals. Still, that’s progress when you look back at the last 10 years.

So, confident the team is going in the right direction? Yes. Convinced we’re the best team in England/Europe/The World ever? No, not at all. That’s Liverpool isn’t it???

Is Arteta the man for the job? I think so (at least at the moment). I remember the days of people like Bruce Rioch and caretaker Stewart Houston being in charge. We’ve come a long way from there.

City haven’t always been this good. Man Utd used to get relegated and Liverpool fans weren’t always so pompous (or maybe they were but we didn’t have the internet back in the day). Christ, I even saw West Ham win the FA Cup (another reason to bash Arsenal Stewie???)!
Stu – Optimistic but not over-confident, Gooner in France

Bayern Munich head coach Thomas Tuchel.

Maybe Tommy T is the problem
Mark, MCFC, Bolton asks an interesting question following Thomas Tuchel’s impending departure from Bayern Munich; are there too many fragile egos in football these days?

The answer is “maybe,” but an interesting counterpoint might be “why not examine literally any episode either in the career of Thomas Tuchel OR in the history of FC Bayern?” Pretty much every club he’s been at he’s fallen out with either or both of the dressing room and boardroom, because he’s a really weird, really intense guy, and FC Bayern’s players have a long-standing reputation for getting rid of managers they don’t like going back to the 1960s. These are a bunch of guys (only two or three of the same guys, but nonetheless the same collective) who couldn’t get on with Carlo Ancelotti. CARLO ANCELOTTI, for pete’s sake.

“Thomas Tuchel resigning because he’s fallen out with the FC Bayern players” is the least surprising event in football history. I’d question if it should even be reported as news, and it certainly shouldn’t be used as an example to track the increasing fragility of modern footballers.
Dara O’Reilly, London