Bayer Leverkusen CEO Fernando Carro has denied the existence of a clause in Xabi Alonso's contract allowing the manager to take charge of one of his former clubs next year.
The former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder - who also represented Bayern Munich and Real Sociedad - has been tipped to return to both clubs as a head coach should either Jurgen Klopp or Carlo Ancelotti step aside in the near future.
Alonso previously managed Real's youth team and the Real Sociedad B team before being appointed Leverkusen manager in October 2022, and he led the club to the semi-finals of the Europa League in his debut season.
Leverkusen's hopes of continental glory were dashed by Roma, but Alonso's side have made an exceptional start to the new term, winning 16 and drawing one of their 17 games in all tournaments.
With 31 points taken from a possible 33 in the Bundesliga, Leverkusen sit two points clear of perennial champions Bayern Munich at the top of the standings and have already confirmed a top-two finish in their Europa League group thanks to four wins from four continental outings.
Alonso's unexpected success at Leverkusen has inevitably led to rumours surrounding a managerial appointment at Anfield or the Bernabeu, and it was claimed that the 41-year-old's deal includes a release clause, which would offer him the chance to join one of his old clubs as their new head coach for 2024-25.
However, speaking to talkSPORT, Carro confirmed that no such option exists, and Leverkusen are protected by Alonso's contract situation, as the Spaniard's deal runs until the end of the 2025-26 season.
Nevertheless, Carro has insisted that the club will not stand in Alonso's way of seeking pastures new if the right opportunity presents itself, saying: "No but you don't need a clause.
"We have a very, very good relationship with Xabi and he knows that we are a serious club. At the end of the day, we're not going to force someone to stay if he doesn't want to stay. We want him to feel so happy and so good with us that he really only wants to stay and this is our objective.
"No nothing on paper but sometimes agreements that are not on paper are agreements as well and we know that if he needs to do a move in the future we'll be able to talk with each other. I hope we will not need to do this because he will stay and be happy in Leverkusen."
Real are staring down the barrel of managerial uncertainty heading into the second half of the season, as Ancelotti is now in the final 12 months of his contract and has been heavily linked with the Brazil job.
Brazil Football Confederation president Ednaldo Rodrigues said in July that Ancelotti would be taking over the Selecao for the 2024 Copa America, but neither the Italian nor Real have confirmed such plans, and Los Blancos could even try to tie the 64-year-old down to a new contract.
Meanwhile, Klopp's Liverpool contract does not expire until the summer of 2026, having agreed to an extension in April 2022, although he was briefly tipped to succeed Joachim Low as the new Germany manager in 2021.
Klopp ruled out that possibility as Hansi Flick was appointed instead, and the 56-year-old also reaffirmed his commitment to the Reds earlier this year after Flick departed, which saw Die Mannschaft hire Julian Nagelsmann.
During his playing heyday, Alonso won the Champions League, FA Cup, UEFA Super Cup and two Community Shields with Liverpool across a five-year spell, before clinching another European Cup and UEFA Super Cup with Real Madrid alongside a La Liga title, two Copa del Reys and a Supercopa de Espana.