Bayern Munich move to sign Xabi Alonso from Real Madrid - reports
Bayern Munich are closing in on signing Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, according to reports in Germany and Spain.
Alonso, 32, retired from international football on Wednesday but was also in the headlines later that day after media linked the highly decorated player with a move to the Bundesliga.
Since moving to Real from Liverpool in 2009 for 30 million pounds, the former Real Sociedad player has won La Liga, the Copa del Rey twice, and lifted the Champions League for a second time in his career to add to his World Cup and European Championship winners' medals at international level.
According to German tabloid Bild and Spanish sports daily Marca, Alonso is in line to become the fifth Spaniard in Bayern coach Pep Guardiola's squad. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Alonso's former teammate at Anfield, and defender Juan Bernat have already arrived this summer to join compatriots Thiago Alcantara and Javi Martinez at the Allianz Arena.
Bild claims that the Bundesliga champions and Alonso have already agreed personal terms, with Marca adding that the veteran has been offered a salary of 10 million euros gross. However, Bild adds that Real Madrid have yet to agree to sell one of their most senior players to a major rival in their bid to retain the Champions League this season.
Alonso is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2016, but is no longer a guaranteed starter for coach Carlos Ancelotti following the summer arrival of former Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos. With Sami Khedira likely to stay at Los Blancos for the final year of his contract, Alonso could be struggling for minutes in the Spanish capital this season.
Although he played every minute of the two-legged Spanish Super Cup -- which Real lost 2-1 on aggregate to local rivals Atletico Madrid -- Alonso was an unused substitute for his side's La Liga opening win over Cordoba at the weekend.
Bayern are on the lookout for another holding midfielder as fears over Bastian Schweinsteiger's knee injury continue to grow. The Germany international has been sidelined for the majority of preseason, and he has been struggling with knee problems for most of 2014. It is yet unclear when the Bayern stalwart will return to action.
Thiago, another option in holding midfield, has been sidelined with knee problems since March and is currently working on his return while Martinez, who can play in defence and holding midfield, suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments during the German Super Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund earlier this month and has been ruled out for the rest of the year.
Bayern have already made one signing this week, bringing in Morocco international defender Medhi Benatia from Roma on a five-year deal.