When considering weaknesses in Chelsea’s title-winning starting XI, the left wing-back position isn’t one that immediately comes to mind – in fact, many would argue the slot on the opposing flank, adopted almost on an ad hoc basis by Victor Moses last season, requires the Premier League champions’ attention first.
After all, Marcos Alonso proved to be arguably the English top flight’s shrewdest signing last summer, defying those who compared his sizeable price-tag to unspectacular spells at Bolton and Sunderland with consistently impressive form and very much providing the platform for Antonio Conte’s switch to 3-4-3 – easily the most significant tactical call in last season’s title race.
Yet, whether Alonso is truly a top-class player or simply a beneficiary of a system that plays to his unique strengths remains a matter of legitimate debate.
Likewise, even if the Spaniard retains his starting berth next season, Chelsea need more depth for such a crucial position anyway.
According to The Express, however, the Blues look set to have the situation resolved by the end of this week by ‘landing’ Juventus’ flying No.3 Alex Sandro, in theory the ideal upgrade on the left wing-back they acquired from Fiorentina last summer.
Indeed, as our infographic shows, although Alonso outshone the Champions League finalist in terms of goals last season, he came up short in every other metric we’ve measured the pair on – despite actually making four less appearances in Serie A – eclipsed by the Brazilian in terms of tackles, interceptions, assists, chances created and successful dribbles.
It remains to be seen how much Chelsea will fork out for Sandro and some Blues fans will question why Alonso’s status within the squad is being put under threat after such an impressive debut season. But these are the kind of signings and ruthless decisions the west London club need to make this summer if they’re to become the first side to successfully retain the Premier League title since 2009.