Tottenham legend: This Chelsea signing worthy successor to Ashley Cole

Garth Crooks heaps praise on Chelsea signing Marcos Alonso

Garth Crooks believes Chelsea have finally unearthed a player capable of replacing Ashley Cole.

Marcos Alonso was signed in a £17m deal from Serie A outfit Fiorentina towards the end of the summer transfer window.

The Spanish defender’s move to Stamford Bridge raised eyebrows after he struggled to impress at Bolton Wanderers before his move abroad.

However, Alonso has been a regular fixture in Antonio Conte’s side since the Chelsea manager switched to a 3-4-3 formation.

The former Real Madrid full-back has helped Chelsea eased to six successive Premier League victories, including Sunday’s 1-0 win against Middlesbrough.

Former Tottenham forward Crooks has been impressed with Alonso’s impact at left wing-back since his introduction to Conte’s starting line-up.

“I must be honest; I wasn’t sure about Marcos Alonso as Chelsea’s left-back, but that was probably due to having watched Ashley Cole for a number of seasons,” Crooks told BBC Sport.

“However, with every clean sheet Chelsea have achieved this season, Alonso has grown.

“Against Middlesbrough, he started to look more reassured going forward, always making himself available, and even forcing an impressive save out of Victor Valdes.

“Chelsea have struggled to find a naturally left-footed full-back since the departure of former England international Cole. Now they have one, and boy does it make a difference.”

Alonso has been part of a Chelsea defence that has kept six successive clean sheets in victories over Hull City, Leicester City, Manchester United, Southampton, Everton and Middlesbrough.

Chelsea will host Crooks’ former club Tottenham Hotspur in their next Premier League fixture at Stamford Bridge on Saturday evening.

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