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Xabi Alonso Available on a Free? Should Liverpool Be Interested?

BLACKBURN, UNITED KINGDOM - DECEMBER 06:  Xabi Alonso of Liverpool celebrates scoring the first goal during the Barclays Premier League match between Blackburn Rovers and Liverpool at Ewood Park on December 6, 2008 in Blackburn, England.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Matt LadsonFeatured Columnist IIINovember 20, 2016

A report in Wednesday's Daily Mail claims Jose Mourinho wants to sign Xabi Alonso for Chelsea, and such a move would truly break many Liverpool supporters' hearts.

Xabi Alonso combining with Fernando Torres to score is an event that should revoke memories of the years around 2007 to 2009, when Rafa Benitez assembled Liverpool's strongest side in their Premier League history.

Alonso is one of the few "adopted Scousers" who supporters endeared themselves to and who you believed felt an affinity to the club. A player who is still revered by fans, even after leaving the club.

Others in this category in recent years are Maxi Rodriguez, Luis Garcia and legends like Sami Hyypia and Didi Hamann.

The biggest problem (and I use the word loosely) with any potential reunion of Alonso at Anfield is that he plays a very similar role to that now being fulfilled by Steven Gerrard.

 

Xabi Alonso in a Chelsea shirt would destroy me

— Ammar (@YRCHDVideos) October 29, 2013

 

/Getty Images

Could Brendan Rodgers' midfield accommodate two players in their 30s, who lack the dynamism required to press, control and possess?

I say this is a problem, but it's never really a problem if your squad has too many genuinely world-class players to accommodate.

Perhaps, the question should be more whether Alonso, who turns 32 next month, would be willing to play a reduced role as he enters the twilight of his career?

If so, then maybe there is no problem at all. Gerrard and Alonso could be rotated, prolonging both their impressive careers.

 

Have you seen Xabi Alonso's incredible nutmeg on Zidane? http://t.co/uTPiySPYI7

— Back Page Football (@bpfootball) October 30, 2013

 

The other issue here, though, is how the signing of Alonso would be against the strategy of the club and it's owners; the blueprint for moving the club forward.

Rightly, FSG and Rodgers' transfer committee are seeking to sign quality young players with potential to improve—essentially players who they rate as good value for money.

However, the policy of the club isn't set in stone, as managing director Ian Ayre explained to the Liverpool Echo back in January:

It’s not a policy which is set in stone but it’s an aspiration. If we feel there’s a particular position or player who can contribute to the group and is over that sort of age limit, it doesn’t mean we won’t consider that player.

As everyone saw in the summer we renewed deals with many of our senior player. So experience is vital and we will consider more experienced players where it makes sense.

Would FSG be willing to break policy for Alonso? It would certainly gain them huge kudos with a large amount of the Reds' support.

The potentially high wages is another stumbling block. Would Alonso himself be prepared to take a pay cut to return to the club with which he won the Champions League back in 2005? And could Liverpool justify breaking their wage structure for Alonso, having off-loaded several high earners in the past 18 months?

Liverpool have a young squad with plenty of talent, the experience Alonso would bring would be invaluable at such a crucial time, especially if the Reds should achieve Champions League qualification for next season.

Alonso is well aligned with the style of play Rodgers wishes his team to prescribe to. There are certainly more than just nostalgic reasons for why such a signing makes sense.

Any potential move for Alonso is somewhat of a heart-versus-head argument for Liverpool. But perhaps on this occasion, they must let their romantic side take over.

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