At last the Xabi Alonso saga is over, with the Spanish midfielder making his way back to the Spanish capital to join up with former Liverpool team mate Alvaro Arbeloa for pre-season training. Alberto Aquilani will be the man brought in to replace the ex Real Sociedad player as long as he passes a medical.
Whilst I’m pleased it’s over and done with I can’t help but feeling Alonso will be missed at least for the first part of the season. Whilst Aquilani looks like a great addition to Rafael Bentiez’ squad it will take him time to settle in and find his place within the squad. No matter how good a player you are or how good a team your in it will always take you time to settle, especially when coming to a new league.
This is why it’s crucial the rest of the team step it up a gear whilst the former Roma midfielder gets his footing within a team that is pushing for a nineteenth league title. We need to ensure that even with one player not at his best we can win our first games, especially the harder ones against teams like Tottenham Hotspur, teams who have a point to prove in their race for a European spot.
It’s not going to be an easy start to the season and in this situation I’d much rather have Xabi in the first team, controlling the middle of the park and spray crosses around the park to try and break down the opposition defense. Don’t get me wrong, I think Aquilani will be a great addition to the squad but it’s going to take time for him to settle in to one of the best teams in world football, especially with the pressure to deliver a league title back to Anfield.