Xabi Alonso, regularly employed by Liverpool as a creative defensive midfielder has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid.
It coincides with the appointment of Florentino Perez as president of the Madrid club. Indeed less than 24 hours into his third stint at the helm of Madrid and he has already set about making swift changes, starting at the very top.
Juande Ramos has departed as manager, with experienced Chilean Manuel Pellegrini arriving from Villarreal. Rumours suggest that Perez is prepared to demonstrate his faith in Pellegrini by giving him an impressive war chest, to build a side capable of knocking treble winners, Barcelona, off their perch.
According to reports in Spain, PerezÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ first move as president will be to bring in Alonso for a fee in the region of Ã‚Â£22 million. It is an indicator of the fine season the Spanish maestro enjoyed last year. Last summer, Arsenal were unwilling to pay a reported Ã‚Â£200,000 extra to match LiverpoolÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã‚Â£16 million valuation to secure his services.
Alonso started 31 games this season scoring four times with three assists. His consistent performances have helped Liverpool mount their strongest title challenge in almost two decades. His long range vision and accurate passing regularly draws applause from the Anfield faithful.
Rafa Benitez has expressed his desire to keep the talented Alonso and has insisted the Liverpool number 14 is not for sale:
“Alonso has three years left on his contract and we are really pleased with him.”
“We do not want to sell, he is not for sale. He has said he is happy here in Liverpool, in every single press conference, in every single interview.”
“We have some ideas for the future, without losing any of our key players.”
Indeed it doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t seem plausible that Benitez would want the 39-time capped Spaniard to leave. Yet should Liverpool decide to cash in, there wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t be a shortage of suitors. As well as Real Madrid, Arsenal, Juventus and Manchester City have all been linked with the player.
Indeed only a few days ago, Arsenal captain, Cesc Fabregas, urged his manager Arsene Wenger to loosen the purse strings and splash out on his Spanish compatriot. In a recent interview, Fabregas said:
“We need someone in the middle to make competition and make a difference, plus give us a new dimension,” said Fabregas. “I think that is all we need. The rest is perfect. Xabi would be great. He’s experienced and can score goals. I’m sure the boss is aware of that fact.”
Liverpool fans would surely be distraught at the thought of Alonso departing. Even with the possible arrival of Gareth Barry this summer, AlonsoÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s unrivalled range of passing would undoubtedly be missed by Liverpool. ItÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s a summer where Liverpool should be strengthening, not weakening their squad.
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