You know there's a transfer window approaching when Liverpool and Xabi Alonso are rumoured to be set for a reunion. A move back to Anfield was a regular nugget of speculation in his final two years at Real Madrid and has continued almost from the moment that rather than moving back to Liverpool he chose to head to German giants Bayern Munich.
So it's no real surprise, with January approaching and the news slow during another interminable international break, to find him being linked again. This time, the rumour—care of Bild in Germany and since picked up by the usual collection of tabloids in the United Kingdom—is that with his contract with Bayern expiring at the end of the season he will sign a pre-contract with the Reds in January.
Now 33 years old, Alonso's performances have declined less than players who rely on physical brilliance, but it's still been clear he's slowing down for a few seasons now and there's a reason Bayern are content to let him see out his contract without attempting to resign him. He's still a very good player, but it's hard to imagine him starting every week in the Premier League for the next season or two.
That might not be a deal breaker for either player or club if he were seeking to head back to Anfield in a more limited role than he had when he left the club, and as has always been the case when it comes to Alonso to Liverpool reunion rumours it's hard to dismiss them out of hand. Yet given how long they've been mooted it's also hard to really take them all that seriously.
It also bears repeating, as it always does when they pop up ahead of another transfer window, that Alonso—who has now played eight seasons away from Liverpool after spending five at the club—has long said that he would like to return to Real Sociedad for a season or two at the end of his career. If that's the case, he will get few better opportunities to do so than at the end of the current season.
If he instead decided he wanted to return to Anfield for the last year or two in a more minor role, few Reds fans would object. Few Reds fans, though, should take the latest round of Alonso rumours all that seriously.