Xabi Alonso is the latest Real Madrid player to create speculation about a possible return to the English Premier League, and if he is sincere about a move off the continent, Liverpool must do everything in its power to bring the Spanish star back to his former club.
In the wake of Cristiano Ronaldo’s rumored desire to return to Manchester United, Sky Sports reports that Alonso has been reluctant to sign a long-term deal in Madrid, and the midfield maestro made the following statements to the Spanish media:
I have not decided on my future. I will only stay at Real Madrid if I can offer the same level on the pitch as I can now and we will see what happens in the next few months. There is always a chance I could go back to the Premier League as I always enjoyed good times there.
Reds supporters likely lament the day their club decided to collect £30 million from Madrid in exchange for Alonso, as this marked the moment that Liverpool’s star began to fade.
Rafa Benitez brought Alonso in for the 2004-05 season, and this was the only one of the midfielder’s campaigns in Merseyside that did not feature a top-four finish. However, Liverpool did win the Champions League that year.
Alonso formed a fantastic partnership with Steven Gerrard in the center of the pitch, and this tandem helped drive the Reds to four consecutive top-four finishes. However, the year after he left, the team dropped to seventh and Benitez was sacked.
This started the current run of poor results the club has been unable to escape, but Brendan Rodgers has attempted to implement a new brand of football at Anfield, just as Benitez did in the middle of the previous decade.
How likely is it that Xabi Alonso will eventually wind up back with Liverpool?
It would be truly fitting for Alonso to return to Liverpool and help usher the team into a new era of relevancy.
While he may not be the same dominant force he was during his first stint with the Reds, he is still a world-class midfielder.
His strong tackling allows him to be a defensive presence, but his ability to orchestrate the offense is what would be truly invaluable to Liverpool.
Alonso is patient on the ball, intelligent with his passing and has a cerebral understanding of the game. These qualities are the reason he racked up nine assists in league games for Madrid this past season and they would make him an ideal fit in Rodgers’ system.
At 31 years old, he is nearing the twilight years of his career and will not be able to turn in as many matches as he once could. However, he would be available for all the important fixtures and would serve as a perfect mentor for young players such as Joe Allen.
Alonso is both a leader and a first-rate player, and his presence on the Liverpool squad would be extremely beneficial. This is a situation the Reds must keep a close eye on going forward, and the club must pounce on any opportunity to bring Alonso back to Anfield.