Is Marcos Alonso a man on a mission at Chelsea?
Much was made of the impending changes at Chelsea this summer as Antonio Conte's reign came to an expected, yet premature end. The focus was mainly on the future of starman Eden Hazard as well as Brazilian winger Willian who drew interest from Spanish giants Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Paris Saint-Germain was also rumoured to be interested in midfield powerhouse N'golo Kante. But no one was talking about the only Chelsea player that was named in last season's PFA Team of the Year, Marcos Alonso.
Now that the dust has settled and Maurizio Sarri has gradually made a home of London, Alonso has wasted no time in reminding everyone he remains one of the club's best players. He is finally grabbing the headlines that he richly deserves.
Played as a left back, the Real Madrid youth product is redefining his role in a much much-changed Chelsea team. The club's supporters have every reason to be happy as Stamford Bridge has become home to some of the best football in the league. And in Alonso and Hazard, Sarri has dependable players to impact the most important statistic in the game as well - the scoreline.
With just three matches played in the new Premier League season, the Spaniard has already proved instrumental to the team's goals. After grabbing a late winner against Arsenal in the second game, the 27-year-old was also involved in both of Chelsea's goals as they worked hard to break down a stubborn Newcastle United side, eventually winning 2-1.
As already indicated, the early season performance is a continuation of his good form from the last campaign. In a season where the Blues failed to show up for the party as they failed both to defend their title and even fight for a top-four finish, Alonso was outstanding. This is what earned him a place in the PFA Team of the Year.
Julen Lopetegui could be forgiven for choosing to stick with Jordi Alba for his then Spanish squad for the World Cup. The left-back was a key part of the Barcelona side that won the double last term. But the 27-year-old Chelsea left-back is playing like a man on a mission to stake a claim for the position under new Spanish national team manager Luis Enrique.
The Spaniard who was born in Madrid joined Real Madrid’s youth academy as a child. He went on to represent every youth side in the club including Real Madrid Castilla in the Segunda División.
He finally graduated to the senior team but could only manage a single appearance before moving to Bolton Wanderers in 2010. After moving to Fiorentina three years later and excelling in the Serie A, he returned to the EPL with Chelsea in 2016.
Rumours are now emerging that former club Real Madrid is considering making a move for the player as they seek a capable back-up and subsequent replacement for Marcelo. A move for the player could be difficult to resist as it will bring his career full circle.
This could present another concern for Chelsea who fought tooth and nail to keep star players Hazard and Willian at Stamford Bridge. The club still faces an uphill battle to keep N'golo Kante despite offering the Frenchman a new bumper deal to stay put. Paris Saint-Germain could make a better offer in the summer.
Whatever the case, Alonso is set for an exciting future if he continues to prove vital for the club. Whether he takes his place in the national team, earns a big money move or is offered a bumper deal of his own in recognition of his contributions to the team, he is definitely playing his way to somewhere.