£24m man could Chelsea's big surprise package this season - TCC View
It may be extremely early days in the campaign but Marcos Alonso has already proven his worth to Chelsea in the past week.
Thomas Tuchel entrusted the Spaniard with starts in both the Super Cup final last Wednesday and in the Premier League opening day victory over Crystal Palace on Saturday.
In both fixtures, Alonso was one of his side’s standout performers, fully taking his opportunity whilst Ben Chilwell regains match fitness.
He was a menace to Villarreal all evening, constantly marauding forward past the attention of his marker and either finding a cross or a shot.
The 30-year-old also dispatched his penalty in the shoot-out, despite doing so with a John Terry-like slip whilst striking the ball.
The return to domestic football meant a new challenge for Chelsea, but Tuchel kept Alonso’s familiar face at left wing-back against Palace.
All afternoon, the former Fiorentina defender delivered a barrage of dangerous crosses that were disappointingly not gobbled up by those wearing blue.
His crowning moment came just before the 30-minute mark, as he swept home a delightful free-kick past a helpless Vicente Guaita from 20-yards.
Marcos making his mark
As Alonso wheeled away in celebration, there was a real sense the player had regained his spirit and spark.
A lot of last season was spent sat on the bench or reading rumours about his potential departure from Stamford Bridge.
In an attempt to sign Romelu Lukaku, Chelsea reportedly offered Alonso’s assistance in order to lower the transfer cost somewhat.
Lukaku eventually signed for a club-record fee, with no need to swap out any of Tuchel’s squad.
And the Blues have certainly benefitted so far from retaining Alonso for at least another term.
Bought for just £24m (Sky Sports) back in 2016, the versatile full-back has been a great servant to the Champions League holders.
Antonio Conte utilised his full potential during the 2016/17 league title success.
Every manager since Conte can say they were aided by Alonso’s presence in the team.
Chilwell probably just edges out in front of his colleague for the left-wing-back role.
Although, he may struggle to squeeze his way back into the set-up based on recent evidence.
If Alonso can continue his rich vein of form and keep Chilwell at bay, there is no reason why he can’t recreate the 16/17 version of himself.