Xabi Alonso reportedly fancies a return to the Premier League. But, with Liverpool no longer the force they once were, where could the Spaniard end up?
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Former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso could be eyeing a return to the Premier League after a contract stand-off with Real Madrid.
Spain international Alonso, 30, has a contract until 2014 but Real Madrid are unlikely to start negotiations until next summer.
But Alonso is now weighing up other options as Real Madrid keep him waiting and his advisers are exploring a potential return to England.
Real Madrid are trying the same tactic with a few big names – also including Angel Di Maria, Arbeloa and Raul Albiol – and it may end up resulting in Alonso leaving the Spanish giants.
SOURCE: Daily Mirror
Real Madrid star Xabi Alonso could be set for a return to the Premier League but which club would best suit the talented Spaniard? We assess his options:
Liverpool: The 30-year-old playmaker, who spent 5 years at Liverpool, still ruddy loves the Anfield faithful and reportedly went to great lengths to persuade Real teammate Nuri Sahin to join the Reds rather than Arsenal this summer. Indeed, it’s mental to think that Alonso, one of the top midfielders in world football, was forced out of Anfield, with Italian flop Alberto Aquilani his replacement. (Urgh…what utter mismanagement but that’s a whole other blog altogether…)
Despite his love-in with the Scousers, it’s tough to see cash-strapped Liverpool splashing out to re-sign the pass-master, particularly when a striker remains an urgent priority.
And would Alonso really go back, while the club flounder in the bottom half of the Premier League, showing no signs of making a realistic challenge for the top four?
Chelsea: If Alonso ever gave the slightest indication that he was keen on a return to the Premier League, there is no doubt that Chelsea’s Spanish contingent of Juan Mata, Fernando Torres, Cesar Azpilicueta et al, would be banging on Roman Abramovich’s door recommending their compatriot.
And it’s positively scary to think how classy the Blues’ midfield would look, with Alonso (rather than the clumsy Jon Obi Mikel) anchoring, giving the likes of Eden Hazard, Juan Mata and Oscar license to roam.
The European Champions certainly have the cash and the competitiveness to lure the Spaniard back to England but the only stumbling block could be his age. Alonso is 30 and Abramovich is reportedly unwilling to give any player over 30 more than a one-year deal. Bizzarre behaviour, but I had a mate who behaved the same way on Football Manager, which just about tells you everything you need to know about Russian.
Man United: It’s premature (but then again, so is the whole premise of this blog, based as it is on a spurious Daily Mirror rumour) but I’m going to rule out United altogether and assume that Alonso would have too much respect for his former employers Liverpool. He looks like that kind of chap.
A shame, because with Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs boasting a combined age of 147 and doubts still remaining over the fitness of Anderson and Darren Fletcher, United could really use a central midfielder of the Spaniard’s class.
Arsenal: As with Chelsea, it’s quite pleasant to imagine Alonso in an Arsenal shirt. The classy Spaniard would link-up beautfiully with compatriots Santi Cazorla and Mikel Arteta, and the returning Jack Wilshere, providing a wonderfully platform from which to launch attacks (if only they had a good striker).
That said, Arsene Wenger is not the kind of manager to splash out mega-bucks on a 30-year-old, particularly when there is youth to be nutured and Alonso’s wages may also prove a stumbling block for the thrifty Gunners.
Man City: This is one place where wages are not an issue and Eastlands is perhaps the most likely detination for Alonso, should he demand a Premier League reunion. Boss Roberto Mancini has long been chasing a classy holding midfielder but has failed in his attempts to land Daniele De Rossi of Roma, ending up, much to his chagrin, with Everton youngster Jack Rodwell.
Mancini would love to have Alonso in his team to sit, allowing Yaya Toure the freedom to burst forward at will. Ironically, the Spain international would also be the perfect replacement for the ageing Gareth Barry – the man Rafa Benitez tried to bring-in to replace Alonso at Anfield.
Watch this space.
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