It was a transfer that was foretold at the beginning of the summer but only occurred the day after the transfer window finished. Marcos Alonso did eventually join Barcelona though and on Saturday, he made his debut for the Blaugrana against Cadiz.
Sport took the chance to speak to one of his former youth coaches in Alejandro Menendez, who was in charge of Alonso when he was coming through the ranks at Real Madrid.
Menendez explained his first impressions of Alonso.
“He was already a full-back with a great vocation for the offensive side of things, very vertical, a great left foot, very confident in himself.”
“Very daring but he did not have much energy in defence. He struggled to get back, to adapt his way of defending to the defensive line. He struggled while burning his energy defending one-on-one. The managers put a lot of work into that.”
Some still question Alonso’s defensive ability and it was telling that Chelsea fought tooth and nail to keep Cesar Azpilicueta in London but not Alonso.
Menendez has backed Barcelona’s most recent signing to displace Jordi Alba in the first team though.
“I understand it as Xavi has not only thought of having internal competition between Marcos and Jordi, that they fight for that position, but that Marcos is a player that can leave Jordi Alba in the shade.”
“Alba will have to be at a great level so that Marcos does not take his position. He is not only a great player, but also on top of that arrives very motivated to Barca. His father played there and he will want to do well. Arriving in Spain, with his people and showing what he has shown during recent years at Chelsea.”
It may well be that it is not Alba that Alonso has to displace. The beginning of the season has seen Alejandro Balde line up at left-back most often with some impressive displays from the youngster. With Barcelona facing Bayern Munich in midweek, it will reveal Xavi Hernandez’s thinking to a degree as he no doubt puts out what he believes to be his strongest line-up.