Unlike David Luiz, who has slotted in easily in central defense after his arrival in the summer, fellow Deadline Day signing Marcos Alonso has had to wait for his chance. But after a fairly successful debut in the League Cup as a left back, Alonso got his chance to shine with Chelsea switching to a 3-4-3, using wing-backs and three central defenders — two positions that are both familiar for the former Fiorentina man.
The player himself is more than happy to be able to use his experience and versatility to help the team.
"I had to get used to that when I went [to Italy playing at wing-back], but over the last couple of years that's been the system that I have been playing. Most of the time I was a left wing-back in the line of the five, but I also sometimes played as a left centre-back."
"Wherever the team needs me to help I will try to do my best, and it's good to be able to play in more than one positon."
Alonso started his professional career in his native country of Spain in 2008, playing for Real Madrid's B-team and earning his only appearance for their first-team in 2010. Later that year he decided to go look for better opportunities for playing time with Bolton Wanderers, where he spent three years before heading to Fiorentina in Italy — but only cementing his place at the club in 2014, after a highly successful half-season loan spell at Sunderland.
It’s been quite a journey already for the 25-year-old, but he’s used every opportunity and new experience to add to his game.
"Italy [has] a very competitive league, where most of the teams wait for you. It’s like after uni when you go to do a master's. Italy is like that for defenders. Defend, get into position and they are perfect tactically. They also work a lot on the physical aspect, so I think it’s great for defenders to play in Italy."
"It was a great two years in Italy, I played a lot of games and gained experience in a different league. So you pick up new stuff, new ways of doing things, on and off the pitch, and I think that has made me a better player, and also more mature mentally.
"I have learned a little bit in every country, which is an advantage because you become a more complete player."
-Marcos Alonso; source: Chelsea FC via Goal
Marcos Alonso is probably at or very near his peak physical prowess, with tactical nous to match. His weaknesses are supposed to include a bit of daydreaming and lack of concentration, but we have yet to see that in a Chelsea shirt (though the sample size is still small). Unlike other new signings we’ve tried at left back over the past couple years, he might actually lock down a starting spot, especially if we persist with the 3-4-3 tactical setup.