Wednesday, March 29, 2023

How Chelsea Have Potentially Solved Their Entire Defensive Crisis With This Signing

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Sourav Bhakat
An ardent sports lover who loves to sleep, eat and watch Manchester City play. In that order.

Chelsea snapped up the services of former Bolton and Sunderland man Marcos Alonso for a reported £23m. The transfer had fans scratching their head due to a number of counts. Chelsea had an obvious need for centre-back reinforcement with only John Terry and Gary Cahill as the senior choices for the gaffer. As the fans were whiling away the time impatiently for an announcement on that particular front, the surprise signing of Alonso caught them off-guard. The English Premier League audience recognized him mainly as a former Bolton and Sunderland player who failed to make the cut in the Premier League. And they are partly correct about him.

The 25-year old moves back to the Premier League for the third time after stints at Bolton and Sunderland. Marcos Alonso is a product of the Real Madrid youth product and played 39 times for the club’s B side finding the net on three occasions. The marauding left-back made just a single first-team appearance back in 2010, as a 90th-minute substitute before leaving for England. He represented Bolton 46 times from 2010 to 2013 before moving to Fiorentina and had a four-month loan spell at Sunderland in 2014.

And the much spoken about £23m price-tag on the player has also befuddled many. But Chelsea have shown an unfamiliar resolve in the market wherein they decided not to budge from their stance of overpaying for any player and if the precedent set is to be taken into consideration, Conte certainly has plans to accommodate the player into his first team. While his rather underwhelming stint in the top-flight is publicised, the player has developed by leaps and bounds during his time at Fiorentina. And the latest version of Alonso is certainly the one which has caught Antonio Conte’s eye.


One of the most consistent players in the Blues team has been Cesar Azpilicueta for the past couple of seasons. Primarily a right-back, Ivanovic’s performance in the title-winning season enabled the Serbian to cement the spot and hence made the Spaniard to move to left-back. While Azpilicueta has excelled in his new role, Chelsea have been playing too long without a conventional left-back. Being a right-footer and playing behind Eden Hazard, they have missed the whipped-in crosses which have the tendency to unsettle the opposition defence and the goalkeeper. With the presence of the likes of Diego Costa and Michy Batshuayi, Chelsea would loathe not to have that option at their disposal. Teams usually sit back deep and focus on not letting any gaps being formed, so a more direct alternative is always welcome.

Another option which the signing of Alonso gives the Blues boss is the luxury of having Ivanovic as a cover for the centre-back position. Due to his waning pace, the Serbian has repeatedly been caught out of position and easily beaten by nimble footed wingers. He can slowly move back to the central defensive role as his career progresses and with Chelsea not splashed with riches in that area, he would be a welcome option. This, in turn, would allow the Azpilicueta to take up his more familiar role at right-back with new signing Marcos Alonso looking to finally be a left-back who can cement a regular spot in the team.

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