Xabi Alonso's lack of fitness has reportedly led Real Madrid to put the Spanish midfielder up for sale.
According to a report in El Confidencial (h/t 101 Great Goals), the La Liga giants are concerned Alonso has lost too much weight and strength and thus are open to letting him go:
The report details how manager Carlo Ancelotti has noticed Alonso has "little strength" in these early days of training, while they also believe the Spanish international has dropped significant pounds. All of those factors have lead Real to conclude that the 32-year-old’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu is up for sale.
At present, there is no indication as to whether any particular clubs have been sounded out—or made enquiries—concerning the player.
Alonso has been a stalwart in midfield for Los Blancos since moving to the Bernabeu from Liverpool in 2009 and played a key part as Real won the Champions League last season—although he missed the final through suspension.
However, the recent purchase of Toni Kroos from Bayern Munich—along with the continued presence of Luka Modric—suggests Alonso's importance is potentially diminishing at Real, thus they may be happy to let him go.
Real may want to think twice before letting him leave as—despite new recruits—Alonso seems to still represent the best defensive option they have in the middle, per football writer Liam Twomey:
@BenMcAleer1 He doesn't tackle like Alonso though. They're also losing energy and tenacity of Di Maria. Too many stars, only one football— Liam Twomey (@liam_twomey) July 22, 2014
Indeed, with the addition of James Rodriguez in the summer, Real are beginning to look, once again, like the Galacticos of old with major stars abundant in their squad.
They may be set to add another top star, with reports continuing to circulate that Radamel Falcao is set for a move from Monaco, per AS:
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez and Jose Angel Sanchez, the club’s director general, were joined for lunch on Monday by agent Jorge Mendes at one of the restaurants at the Santiago Bernabeu. [...]
Mendes is the agent of AS Monaco striker Radamel Falcao, who returned to action with the Ligue 1 club in this weekend’s Emirates Cup in London. Despite his comments after scoring the only goal against Arsenal on Sunday – "right now I can’t think about another club" – his dream is to pull on the shirt of Real Madrid.
101 Great Goals provides a photograph of the trio's meeting per Madrid-based journalist Pipi Estrada:
Karim Benzema currently represents Madrid's only genuine strike option, and Colombian Falcao is widely regarded as one of the world's best forwards. Nevertheless, it still seems somewhat excessive that Real might splash out for another high-profile signing.
That is historically the Real way, but where Falcao would fit into an attack that already includes Cristiano Ronaldo, Benzema, Rodriguez and Gareth Bale remains to be seen.
The departure of Alonso and arrival of Falcao would leave Real seemingly top-heavy, with too many attack-minded players in their first team.
Alonso's influence from the base of the midfield is easily underestimated, and it would be a major development if Ancelotti opted to build his team without the veteran string-puller.