Bayer Leverkusen’s head coach Xabi Alonso announced his intention to remain in his position for another season on Friday. This follows Liverpool‘s and Bayern Munich‘s intense pursuit of the Spanish coach. Both the English and German sides are looking for new coaches right now.

Even though Alonso was a major priority for both teams, they will have to evaluate other options now. Nevertheless, with Xabi Alonso’s snub, the Bavarians have allegedly shifted their focus to Zinedine Zidane.

Meanwhile, the Frenchman has declared his openness to a coaching return and is now without a club. “I’m sure that I will return to coaching, I’d like to”, Zidane said in late February. “Anything can happen, but right now I’m busy with other things”, he added.

Zidane to replace Tuchel?

Since his return to Real Madrid in 2019, Zidane has not worked for any team. He departed from his second managerial stint at Santiago Bernabeu in 2021. During his tenure as coach of the Spanish giants, he achieved the remarkable feat of winning three Champions Leagues and two La Liga crowns.

After the Frenchman expressed his desire to return to coaching, the Bavarian hierarchy see him as a perfect fit to succeed Thomas Tuchel. The German has already confirmed that he is planning to resign after this season.

“In a good, open discussion, we came to the decision to end our working relationship by mutual agreement in the summer”, Bayern’s CEO said in February.

“Our goal is to pursue a new footballing direction with a new head coach for the 2024-25 season. Until then, every individual at the club is expressly called upon to achieve the maximum possible in the Champions League and Bundesliga.”

Xabi Alonso confirmed in a press conference on Friday that he would be staying with Bayer Leverkusen
Xabi Alonso confirmed in a press conference on Friday that he would be staying with Bayer Leverkusen

Xabi Alonso confirmed in a press conference on Friday that he would be staying with Bayer Leverkusen

An article in Diario AS states that Bayern are seriously considering replacing him with the 51-year-old Frenchman. Also, they mention that a deal is quite doubtful, but not completely out of the question. Although Real Madrid are also monitoring the coach, they are not planning to rehire him at this time.

At one point, Zidane was the clear favorite to succeed Didier Deschamps as coach of the French national team. But when France finished second in the 2022 World Cup, so they decided to extend Deschamps’ contract.

Confronting reports come from Germany

However, there are contrasting reports that state Zidane will not succeed Thomas Tuchel at Bayern, even if he is interested in a managerial comeback. The Frenchman will not succeed Tuchel at Bayern, according to Florian Plettenberg, a journalist with Sky Germany.

On the contrary, they are actively seeking Roberto De Zerbi of Brighton and Julian Nagelsmann of Germany. The latter was, in fact, in charge of the reigning Bundesliga winners from 2021 to 2023.

“Zidane: French legend won’t become the new coach of FC Bayern! Zidane/Ribery duo is also not a topic at Bayern,” he posted on X. “De Zerbi and Nagelsmann are among the last remaining candidates!”

Considering Brighton’s inconsistent play this season, hiring De Zerbi as manager would be a daring move. Nevertheless, the Italian is unquestionably making waves at the Amex Stadium. Plettenberg has said that, fortunately for Liverpool, Bayern Munich is not prioritizing Sporting’s Ruben Amorim.

Photo credits: IMAGO / Sven Simon : IMAGO / Eibner