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Bayern Munich have spoken publicly and privately about the manager situation, saying that their intention is not to fire Thomas Tuchel. Of course people at the club are very disappointed after the 3-0 defeat to Bayer Leverkusen – the performance was poor, and the general atmosphere at the club is not what was expected. Bayern are not happy, but it hasn’t changed their plans for the moment.
At the moment the situation is not easy, and for sure the situation of Tuchel will be assessed at the end of the season. There is no intention to make a change now, but of course there will be internal talks about the situation because they can’t continue like this in the Bundesliga, and now Champions League games are coming too. Results in these games will of course be important when it comes to assessing the position of Tuchel.
It’s important to say that Xabi Alonso, a former Bayern player, has always been appreciated by people at the club, and now he’s also having this fantastic experience as Bayer Leverkusen manager. He could be a future candidate for the Bayern job, as they have appreciated him since last year, but it’s not something happening now, and Liverpool are also well informed on the situation of Alonso – they know everything about his contract situation at Leverkusen and how to appoint the Spaniard in the summer.
So, Liverpool are really well informed, but we’ll have to wait also for the Reds to appoint a new sporting director. Then they will decide how and when and in which way to ‘attack’ the Alonso situation. We also have to see if they go for another candidate, because there is a shortlist, it’s not only Alonso. But, for sure, Alonso is the main candidate for Liverpool – this is not something new that is happening today, but something they’ve had in mind for a long time. But, again, let’s wait for the new director to see what happens in terms of the direction of the project and with the new manager. Before proceeding in concrete negotiations for a new manager Liverpool will appoint a new director of football. In my opinion, even if other names can’t be ruled out, Alonso is an incredible, top coach and he’d be a fantastic pick for any club.
Finally, it could be an interesting summer at Leverkusen as they may face losing their manager but also some of their star players. As you’d expect after their fantastic performances, all of their best players are being monitored by other clubs – Frimpong, Wirtz, Boniface, Hincapie, Grimaldo, Tapsoba, Tah and more. They’re having an incredible season and top clubs send their scouts to follow their players. But honestly, nothing will change now or in March or April – Bayer won’t even open talks. This is stuff to watch out for in the summer.
Ian Maatsen is doing very well at Borussia Dortmund, making a fantastic impact in his first five games there since joining on loan from Chelsea. The quality of his performances is very good, and the fans and manager are very happy with him.
Dortmund want to wait until the end of the season to decide what to do – as I reported before, this current deal is a loan with no buy option included, but when Maatsen signed a new contract with Chelsea, it was with a release clause included. This is worth £35m and it becomes active in the summer, so the clause is available and it means Dortmund and other clubs can trigger the clause for Maatsen.
Dortmund will decide in the summer, but of course it could be expensive for them. There are other clubs already exploring the situation because top young left-backs like this are not easy to find on the market. The feeling is that it’s already over between Maatsen and Chelsea, but there are many clubs keeping a close eye on Maatsen’s situation.
Of course, things could change, but the feeling with Mauricio Pochettino as manager is that it’s probably over for Maatsen at Chelsea, so keep an eye on this one for the summer because there is already movement ahead of the summer transfer window.
Arsenal – I’m not surprised by Arsenal’s emphatic win at West Ham and their recent improvement in general – I was always backing Arsenal despite poor form in December. Their coach is great, the team is very good too and I’m sure they will do very well in Champions League. For sure to win 6-0 away from home like this is a big statement, showing how focused and hungry they are. You can’t help but be impressed by players like Rice or Saka or the others – now we know they are all top top players.
Yusuf Yazici – I’m told several clubs have made contact with Yusuf Yazici’s new agent Pini Zahavi as he’s expected to leave Lille in June as free agent. In the past, he was on AS Roma and AC Milan list – but it was three years ago and I can’t name the specific clubs interested in signing him now.
Yan Couto – Despite reports about Real Madrid being interested in this Manchester City youngster, who is currently on loan at Girona, I have nothing on this so far – no concrete negotiations, talks or anything yet. His future will be decided at the end of the season, not now. Full focus is on Girona’s dream season now.