Chelsea have been linked with a move for former Real Sociedad and Liverpool playmaker Xabi Alonso.
Jose Mourinho was admired by the Spaniard, currently at Real Madrid, during his time at El Santiago Bernabeu, and David Kent of the Daily Mail reports the Chelsea boss is keen to reunite with Alonso:
The deep-lying playmaker's contract runs out at the end of June and Mourinho would love to bring his former star to London, hoping to seal a free transfer in January.
Alonso, signed by Real Madrid in 2009 from Liverpool for £30million, has been a mainstay in the side since and the Spanish giants are confident they can get him to sign a new deal.
Alonso was a regular for Mourinho during the final term of the Portuguese’s reign as Madrid boss, making 51 appearances for the club according to ESPN FC.
However, his start to the first campaign under Carlo Ancelotti has been restricted by a broken foot. Alonso is expected to be named among the matchday squad for the first time on Wednesday as Madrid host Sevilla, per Kent's article.
His qualities as a playmaker at the base of midfield are among the best in European football. The likes of Xavi and Andrea Pirlo often claim the headlines, but Alonso has been named among the Continent’s top 16 players in each of the past three seasons.
He did not get listed among the FIFA Ballon d’Or nominees for 2013, but Alonso still boasts a rare ability to dictate the tempo of matches with his extensive passing range.
|Ballon d'Or Candidates|
|Gareth Bale (Wales)||Mesut Ozil (Germany)|
|Edinson Cavani (Uruguay)||Andrea Pirlo (Italy)|
|Radamel Falcao (Colombia)||Franck Ribery (France)|
|Eden Hazard (Belgium)||Arjen Robben (Netherlands)|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Sweden)||Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)|
|Andres Iniesta (Spain)||Bastian Schweinsteiger (Germany)|
|Philipp Lahm (Germany)||Luis Suarez (Uruguay)|
|Robert Lewandowski (Poland)||Thiago Silva (Brazil)|
|Lionel Messi (Argentina)||Yaya Toure (Ivory Coast)|
|Thomas Muller (Germany)||Robin van Persie (Netherlands)|
|Manuel Neuer (Germany)||Xavi (Spain)|
Alonso's teammate Sami Khedira is also reportedly keen on the switch to Stamford Bridge, per Jack Wilson of the Daily Star, but he presents a very different option to Alonso.
The Germany international’s game is more about his athleticism and capacity to travel from box to box, which is something Chelsea already have in Ramires.
There is still room for a Khedira-type player, protecting the defence with discipline in a deeper position than Ramires, but Alonso would surely be the better signing.
Chelsea have an abundance of attacking midfielders who love to get on the ball, but the likes of Juan Mata, Oscar and Eden Hazard would dearly love to have a player like Alonso shifting it quickly into their feet.
For the 31-year-old, it would require him to disappoint Liverpool fans by joining a rival. Chelsea and Liverpool contested a series of explosive games during the Spaniard’s time at Anfield, not least the two Champions League semifinals won by the Reds in 2005 and 2007.
Lampard actually broke Alonso's ankle in one league match, while Eidur Gudjohnsen was accused of diving to get Alonso banned from the second leg of their 2005 showdown, so there is plenty of unsavoury history between club and player that would need to be overcome.