Barcelona could be ready to do battle with Liverpool for Xabi Alonso in the summer, as they look to strike a blow to Real Madrid’s plans around the manager for the future.

That’s according to Sport, who say Alonso, whose father Periko Alonso is a former player, is very much on their list of options to replace Xavi Hernandez.

Alonso is the ‘fashionable’ coach of Europe at this moment in time after leading Bayer Leverkusen to the top of the Bundesliga table, unbeaten and playing an attractive brand of attacking football as well.

He’s not only developed a brand of football that fans love but the players too, with several showing impressive development under his leadership over the last 18 months.

It’s put him on the radar of the biggest clubs in Europe, with Liverpool thought to be keen on him as their replacement for Jurgen Klopp, and now Barcelona can be added to the mix, seen as a ‘dream’ for some of the board members.

They like him because of the style of football he plays but also know that securing his signature would be a blow to Real Madrid, where Alonso was not only a former star but has been eyed up as the long-term replacement for Carlo Ancelotti as well.

Barcelona are therefore considering moving for him before anyone else. Real Madrid don’t need a new coach yet as Ancelotti has signed a new deal, but Liverpool do, and the Catalans want to get ahead of them.

Whether they can convince the Spaniard into the move is another matter entirely but the idea to at least compete with Liverpool, or indeed try and get ahead of them, seems to be growing at Camp Nou.