One of the few positives for Liverpool fans to take from the story linking Xabi Alonso to Chelsea is that the midfielder hasn’t had the best of seasons at Real Madrid. But then the downside is that Alonso hasn’t really been displaced as one of the leading midfielders in the game and one who can only help to improve Chelsea no matter his age.
It shouldn’t really matter if it’s Liverpool fans or not, any club’s supporters would feel a great deal of disappointment at having to witness one of their heroes wind up at a heated rival. Even if the tenure is to be short due to the player’s age, there is little in the way of comfort for those who had hoped Alonso would find his way back to Anfield before the end of his career.
The outlook for Chelsea would be promising. More of the pieces look to be coming together for Roman Abramovich and his wish for attractive football. There might be some level of conflict in that Jose Mourinho is set to become manager, but let’s not forget that Mourinho’s Madrid were thrilling to watch for most of last season, and notably with Alonso at the hub of many of their attacks.
It’s what Chelsea will need as a transition from defence to attack. Adding to that, the club may be bringing in the short-term replacement for Frank Lampard, regardless of the England midfielder’s future.
Alonso has had to take on more defensive duties this season alongside the box-to-box Sam Khedira. In the German’s absence, Alonso held his position in the midfield while Luka Modric pushed forward. It’s been a criticism of Madrid and Mourinho’s approach this season, limiting Alonso from launching those rapid counter attacks which proved to be so devastating last season.
For Liverpool fans, it will also act as a reminder that the club’s downfall really began when Alonso transferred to Real Madrid in 2009. Whatever may be said of Fernando Torres scoring form and his partnership with Steven Gerrard, it was Alonso who ran the engine room. His creativity and intelligence has been greatly missed, and it was a great indicator as to how good he was that he was able to break up the partnership with Xavi and Andres Iniesta in the Spanish national team’s midfield.
Aside from Liverpool, it is also thought that Alonso would like to end his career at Real Sociedad, returning to the Basque club when his days at the very top are at an end. That remains a few years down the line, however, and Alonso is more than likely to take up a position in Spain’s starting XI at next summer’s World Cup.
What can be taken from this is that nothing at this stage is certain in terms of Mourinho to Chelsea. Without the draw of Mourinho – who it was said clashed with Alonso this season – there is unlikely to be much movement. The Spanish international also wants to see who succeeds Mourinho at Real Madrid before committing his future to the club.
The subplot of the story that seems a little out of hand, however, is that which suggests Alonso will be brought in to try and help Fernando Torres back to top form. There’s no getting away from that Liverpool team under Rafa Benitez in 2008-09, but that ship has sailed.
The other matter for Liverpool at present is that the club are moving in a different direction and have shown no sign of wanting to invest in a player of Alonso’s age and wages. Not to say the Spaniard wouldn’t provide a great boost to the midfield and in guiding the younger players, but while this potential move to Chelsea may be chalked up as a disappointment, it’s no great loss for Liverpool on the footballing front and their aims for the future.
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