Because we should have beautiful things

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There is, however, a positive side. A couple of months ago, when both Liverpool and Bayern Munich began looking for a new manager, Alonso made it clear that he would not welcome an approach from either club. He was, he said, still honing his craft. He had made a long-term commitment to Leverkusen and had no intention of breaking it at the first available opportunity.

At the time – and perhaps even more so now – this seemed decidedly countercultural. Not only is football conditioned to believe that every wave is there to be ridden, it is economically structured in such a way that anything new, bright or promising is immediately snapped up by the (often self-appointed) great and good of the game.

Kieran McKenna, for example, has been at the top for just a little longer than Alonso. He is only 38 years old. In his two seasons at Ipswich Town, he led the club from League One – the third tier of English football – up to the Premier League. Next season, for the first time in two decades, Ipswich will take their place in the English top flight.

Whether McKenna will be there is a different question. Brighton are eager to appoint him as Roberto De Zerbi’s replacement. Chelsea want to offer him the chance to be fired this time next year. Ipswich are set to offer him an improved contract in a bid to persuade him to stay. But the chance to move forward and make a quantum leap may prove too much to resist.

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