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Keep, Sell, Loan: Marcos Alonso's 2016-17 season in review

Chelsea v Middlesbrough - Premier League Photo by Ian Walton/Getty Images

Appearances: 34 starts (1 as substitute).
Minutes: 2,694 in Premier League; 390 in domestic cups.
Statistics (per 90 minutes, Premier League): 41.31 passes attempted (78% completed); 0.7 successful take ons (65.6% success rate); 1.8 tackles won (44.2% success rate); 2.27 aerial duels won (63.5% successful challenges); 1.5 interceptions.

With the arrival of Geezer-in-Chief David Luiz understandably hogging most of the spotlight at the end of the 2016 summer transfer window, Marcos Alonso's signing faded more or less into apprehensive obscurity and cautious curiosity. Chelsea already had a poor record in dealing with La Viola with Juan Cuadrado proving a massive flop in England and Mohamed Salah becoming more famous for the drawn-out soap opera around his loan contract than his contributions on the pitch (the Salah-days Of Our Lives only reached its conclusion last week in fact).

Add to that a £24 million price tag roundly seen as rather generous, and Alonso was quickly written off as a panic buy just as his floppy haired transfer buddy but without the fun previous shared history.

Alonso had to wait a month to make his Premier League debut, but as it turned out, his introduction in the second half of Chelsea’s 3-0 loss to Arsenal at the Emirates proved to be the exact turning point of Chelsea’s season. Picked as the left wing-back in Conte’s 3-4-3, Alonso got his first league start in the following game. That 2-0 win over Hull City started a 13-match winning streak, and the rest was history.

Hull City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Shaun Botterill/Getty Images

From them on, Alonso remained a regular in the side with consistent performances both in defence and in attack. While Victor Moses' instincts had him push up on the right flank and cut-in to provide close support for the forwards, Alonso tended to stay wider as more of a support player, who provided good interplay and crossing from the left — for years we’ve been clamoring for a left-footed player to provide proper support for Eden Hazard and Marcos Alonso did just that on most occasions.

That’s not to say he didn’t provide any direct goal threat, bagging a career-high six goals in the process while also emerging as a high quality option for left-footed direct free kicks.

All things considered, Marcos Alonso proved to be a lovely addition to the team, and one who improved significantly as the season rolled along.

Leicester City v Chelsea - Premier League Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

The Good
Despite not being as much of an attacking outlet in general as Victor Moses on the opposite flank, Alonso gave Chelsea a great return on the scoresheet with 6 goals and 3 assists and his height also proved useful in set piece defending as well as medium-range goal kicks from Thibaut Courtois.

The Bad
Goal celebrations.

The Best
One of the best days of his career came in Chelseas 3-0 win at Leciester City in the league. Two goals and an assist got Chelsea back on track after our 2-0 defeat to Spurs at White Hart Lane the week prior.

Verdict

Alonso might have had a good season, but few would rank him among the best in the business at his position. Given how crucial the wing back is in the 3-4-3 schemes, it is no surprise that the Blues are reportedly making a push to sign a great (albeit very expensive) player in Juventus' Alex Sandro.

Still, the return on investment on Alonso from a supposed panic buy to a crucial cog in the team should not be understated. His performances and direct contributions to goals were key in our Premier League-winning campaign. Even if we do manage to add Sandro to our squad, we should keep Alonso around and hope he can remain a valuable contributor both at left back, left midfield, and perhaps even left-side center back as well.

Poll

What would you do with Marcos Alonso next season?

This poll is closed

  • 95%
    Keep
    (1501 votes)
  • 3%
    Sell
    (54 votes)
  • 0%
    Loan
    (14 votes)
1569 votes total Vote Now

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