Liverpool seal West Ham deal and Xabi Alonso agreement – Klopp’s dream deadline day
Liverpool’s dream January transfer deadline day would see them put some important pieces into place for the post-Jurgen Klopp era.
It’s been a wild final week of the January transfer window for Liverpool but not in terms of transfers. The club were rocked last Friday by the public announcement that Jurgen Klopp will be leaving at the end of the season. The Reds are now concentrating on trying to give Klopp the best possible send-off, and today will be the final day of his tenure in which he can theoretically sign players.
But with Liverpool having not made a single signing in the winter window, it is incredibly unlikely they make any last-gasp additions today. Instead, a dream deadline day for the Merseyside outfit would consist of putting the pieces in place for the post-Klopp future.
With recruitment effectively put on hold until Liverpool identify who they will appoint to replace the legendary German in the Anfield dugout, Express Sport looks at what a dream deadline day could look like for the club today…
West Ham deal
Before Liverpool appoint a new manager, they want to get a sporting director in place. On the same day it was announced Klopp and his backroom staff will leave, it was confirmed that Jorg Schmadtke will depart once the January window ends.
He joined in the summer and helped conduct incomings and outgoings following the departure of Julian Ward. Ward’s exit was also a shock and came just 12 months after he replaced Michael Edwards. Schmadtke was always a stop-gap appointment and now Liverpool need a long-term successor to Ward.
West Ham’s technical director Tim Steidten is the leading candidate with the German having overseen the signings of Mohammed Kudus, Edson Alvarez, James Ward-Prowse, Konstantinos Mavropanos and Kalvin Phillips this season. Kudus has been a revelation for the Hammers while Alvarez and Ward-Prowse have also become crucial for David Moyes.
Steidten also tied Jarrod Bowen to a new long-term contract and had success with Bayer Leverkusen, where he played a role in Xabi Alonso being made the manager. An ideal scenario would see Liverpool agree a deal with West Ham to buy data expert Steidten, 44, out of his contract immediately so that he can begin planning for the summer.
Steidten held talks with the Reds last year before joining the Londoners though there have not been any discussions more recently. It has been said an approach could be made later this month.
Given Klopp wants to leave the club in as healthy a position as possible, getting a new sporting director in place well before his successor starts would prevent the pair both needing a bedding-in period at the same time.
Xabi Alonso agreement
And speaking of Klopp’s potential successor, it appears the best choice for what will be a tough job is Xabi Alonso, the former Liverpool midfielder. Certainly he is the most popular. The Spaniard, now 42, is currently thriving in his first senior role at Bayer Leverkusen.
Having been 16th when he took over in October 2022, Leverkusen are now top of the Bundesliga and unbeaten after 19 games. They have the best defensive record in Germany and the second-best offensive record after Bayern Munich, who have won the last 11 titles in a row since Klopp’s triumph with Borussia Dortmund in 2011-12.
Alonso played 210 times for Liverpool as a player and is already adored at Anfield. There would be no time needed for him to win over the fans. The downside is his lack of experience, having only coached 65 first-team games for Leverkusen and never in a Champions League match.
But tactically and emotionally, he seems the best choice for the job. Reaching a secret agreement several months ahead of the summer transfer window, so that Liverpool’s recruitment team can go away and begin identifying potential transfer targets who would fit the World Cup winner’s style of play, would be ideal.
In reality the process is likely to take a few months so any agreement with Alonso is still some way away. The Reds’ data-driven team overseeing the process will conduct a thorough review of who the best fit is, with Ruben Amorim and Roger Schmidt slightly more under-the-radar options who could come into the frame.
The numbers-led approach means it is not guaranteed Alonso will be the No 1 pick but when taking into account the psychological elements of replacing a gigantic character like Klopp, the cool and calm figure from the Basque Country who already has an affinity with Liverpool looks the best option.