I like Alonso. He had a fantastic season. He has scored some crucial goals in his 5 years – ie Champions League final. I’d even say that he was mistreated end of last season with the Barry saga. But exactly what does he do?
You see the modern day midfielder is either an attacking minded midfielder (eg Lampard, Gerrard) , or more of a defensive holding one (eg Mascherano, Makelele). So where does Alonso fit. Well he’s definitely not in the Gerrard, Lampard, Scholes category. But then if you compare his stats to say Mascherano, Alonso made fewer tackles, covered less area, made less interceptions, and has much less pace. He did however make more passes, but his assists and goals was nothing to shout about!
So, what does Alonso actually do. Yes he sets play up, keeps ball and can “see the game” – but Gerrard can do all this and more, and Mascherano will make more tackles, run more and help set up play too. So perhaps, with Alonso going – the midfield may become more effective.
Also, if you look at Rafa’s record in midfield – its pretty good. He has definitely improved Gerrard (Ok he may have a different role playing behind Torres, but he’s still a midfielder), he obviously signed Alonso (for 10.5m), and sold him for significantly more. Did well with Sissoko too – would have liked to have kept him. Saw the quality of Mascherano – was not getting a game with West Ham, is now captain of Argentina! Then there’s the likes of Plessis – lots of potential.
So my point is that with Alonso going, our midfiled may actually be more effective – and Rafa’s record in midfield is probably his strength. Gives me reason to be optimistic about Aquilani.
Time will tell, but I feel very confident!