Chelsea’s third left back acquisition in the last three years is former Sunderland standout Marcos Alonso, who had been plying his trade in Serie A with Fiorentina for the past couple seasons.
We’ve already heard from our colleague Huw Thomas over at Viola Nation about Alonso’s recent performances, but we thought it could be interesting to see what the verdict on Alonso was from the last time he played in the Premier League.
If there is one thing being a Sunderland fan for 29 years has taught me, it's how to recognise a genuinely quality footballer. Frankly, I've seen so few of them, the ones who do get on the pitch for us stand out like a sore thumb.
It's been more than two years since Marcos Alonso was here, so in many ways my observations are somewhat out of date. From a Chelsea point of view, that's a good thing as he was certainly a little raw back then. That said, the immaculate technical and tactical quality he showed in the north east will be every bit as good today as it was then, and probably better.
Put simply, Alonso is a proper footballer. He's very comfortable with the ball at his feet and very clever when it's in the possession of his teammates. He'll make plenty of attacking contribution but don't expect a brash marauding Ashley Cole type. Alonso will kill you with cuteness and no one will ever see him coming. Defensively he's sound, but aside from being seriously good in the air by full-back standards he won't wow you in that side of his game.
He has very few weaknesses due to his technical and tactical ability, but the one he does have is a major one - he can be very vulnerable to pace, especially on the turn. It would be no fun if he was perfect though, right?
Ultimately, Chelsea have bought a fine player. He may not stand out often but you'll come to trust him implicitly. He also brings real versatility, being able to play left back, left wing back, or the left side of a three-man defence equally as effectively. Is he overpriced? Probably. But everyone is overpriced now so maybe, actually, no one is. Point is, Chelsea are a better squad for his presence and I think they'll be a better team for it too, so who cares?
So, the good news is that most of this echoes the thoughts from the Fiorentina perspective. The bad news is that most of this echoes the throughts from the Fiorentina perspective.
Then again, maybe because he’s not immediately expected to displace starters a la Filipe Luis, or expected to develop into a premier left back a la Baba Rahman, Marcos Alonso may yet have a shot at sticking around for a few years and becoming a quietly reliable starter, a la Cesar Azpilicueta.