Should Xabi Alonso pick Liverpool, Bayern or Barcelona?

If you were Xabi Alonso, would you choose? Bayern Munich, Liverpool or Barcelona – or wait for the Real Madrid job open? Natalie

Reports in Germany late last week suggested that Munich is now Alonso’s preferred destination, which feels a little disappointing. He’s almost certainly going to lift the post Bundesliga of Bayer Leverkusen this season and it’s not entirely clear to me why, after winning the competition in hard mode, he would now try again in an easier way. Yes, the way the UEFA coefficient works means there will likely be a relatively easy passage to the quarter-finals of the Champions League, and experience in that competition is the only thing missing from his CV, but it still seems a little ambitious step. . Leaving Leverkusen makes sense as his stock cannot really rise further there and a repeat of this season’s performance is so unlikely, especially as players are likely to be sold this summer. Barcelona seems an unlikely destination given his connections with Madrid and his supposed desire to one day become Madrid manager. Although there’s probably a little fear to be Jurgen Klopp successor. Liverpool looks ideal – and, unlike Bayern or even Madrid, it’s not necessarily a job that will be available every few seasons.

Why is Gareth Southgate are linked to the Manchester United function? Would his style in England translate to club football? He has been out of the club management for fifteen years. Damien

The why is simple: he is a successful English manager with strong brand recognition, even among executives with little specialist knowledge. This summer feels like it’s going to be one of great turbulence, with many big clubs looking for new managers and feeling like many of the experienced names are out of the running. There is a real opportunity for one of the rising generation of coaches to accelerate their careers, but amid the uncertainty, Southgate is a solid, reliable name.

Would he work at club level? Maybe – but, as you point out, there is very little evidence. His record is up Middelsbrough was fine without being exceptional and included relegation in 2008. He seems ideally suited to the demands of international football, particularly diplomacy and development work on a large scale, but that is very different from club management. Half the battle at international level is making players feel like they want to play for their country, creating a calm and welcoming environment, while the lack of time available on the training pitch means the tactics are necessarily less complex than in club play. Perhaps Southgate could make the adjustment; the problem is we just don’t know.

What’s next for Xavi? It looks like it was made for the Barcelona track. Do you see him coaching in the Premier League? Bradley

To be honest, I was surprised that Barcelona won the league last season. I have some sympathy for it Xavi that the club is clearly in trouble at the moment with mounting debts and the various restrictions on spending, but I have never been convinced by him as a coach: he injects the Pep Guardiola but with little evidence he is able to implement or develop it depending on the circumstances. The defeats against Bayern in the Champions League last season were predictable, but I thought Xavi did quite poorly against them below and then, in the Europa LeagueManchester United.

His regular bleating about opponents not playing the game the way he wanted only sounded petulant, as if he couldn’t quite accept that the opposition should be allowed to try to win, rather than allowing Barcelona to set up an opponent. Guardiolismo exhibition. I really don’t know where he goes next: his name means he’ll probably continue to ask for at least one or two more jobs, but I’d be very surprised if he ends up in the Premier League.

Are you happy with a penalty shootout as a way to settle a cup competition or tournament? I don’t, and I would like to see things decided by real football. My proposal: if a final (or other knockout game in a tournament) ends in a draw, extra time should be played without the offside rule. Steve

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Shootings must continue. They are dramatic, easy to understand and rely on football skills; if repeats are impossible – and given the modern calendar they are – they are the least bad option available; an almost elementary test of what the sport is.

You say you want things to be decided by ‘real football’, but if you take away offside there is no football left. There’s a reason why offside was one of the first twelve rules of the game when they were first drawn up in 1863. It’s fundamental. Without offside, attackers could position themselves in the opponent’s six-yard box, waiting for a touch from long balls fired into the area. It might be that there would be something exciting if teams kept a few six-footers on the bench and then used them to hit the ball in overtime, but it wouldn’t be football.

And without offside, teams pushing would have no protection, so what you’d probably end up with would be a ridiculously drawn out game with half the players in one box and half in the other. I wrote about this in 2010. Without offside, football has no structure, no need for passing combinations, no need for dribbling, no need for the things that make it great.

This is an excerpt from Soccer with Jonathan Wilson, the Guardian US’s weekly look at the game in Europe and beyond. Subscribe for free here. Do you have a question for Jonathan? Email and he will provide the best answer in a future edition