Barcelona 'racing' to secure Liverpool's No1 manager target after Xabi Alonso decision

Next Liverpool manager: The race for one of Europe's best available managers is intensifying and it could see Liverpool miss out.

With Jurgen Klopp set to step down at the end of the season, there are only a handful of managers capable of taking over at Liverpool - and now Barcelona have emerged as another rival for their main target.

Xabi Alonso's announcement last week stunned everyone after months of speculation resulted in him confirming he would remain at Bayer Leverkusen. Was it a hammer blow for Liverpool? Potentially. He was the frontrunner in a market where there aren't a whole host of quality managers available but names such as Julian Nagelsmann, Roberto De Zerbi and Ruben Amorim have all been linked - with the latter emerging as the main target.

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Amorim has impressed with his playing style, tactics and ability to develop young players and improve players but he is now a wanted man by no less than three clubs. Barcelona, Chelsea and Bayern Munich are all eyeing a move for the Portuguese manager and, as mentioned, the lack of quality names on the market could lead to a transfer saga to acquire him.

The latest news from the Independent claims Barcelona are 'racing' to secure a deal for him given that there is strong interest from around Europe. Xavi announced he would step down as manager earlier this season after a poor run of form.

Ironically, Barca have won eight of their last 11 since the announcement and are into the Champions League quarter-finals but it hasn't changed Xavi's mind about leaving. The report states that Sporting’s high release clause, understood to be around €13m (£11.1m) could be an issue for Barca but they are hoping to secure a deal ahead of their European rivals.

Amorim's most recent comments has seen him reiterate his focus on his current side, "Right now, I’m focused on Sporting. I’m so proud to be Sporting’s coach. We’re focused on winning titles. You’ll see in the end, but I've a contract and I’m happy here. That’s the most important thing, more than a contract, that I’m happy here." But the summer will most likely see come under intense negotiations.