Although the biggest headlines will be reserved for new signings that arrive in the January transfer window, some teams will make the smartest moves by retaining the services of a player that is already on their books. Every club will have their ear to the ground waiting to see if they can bring in a big name player on a free transfer (i.e. Lewandowski to Bayern) and several clubs were monitoring the status of Spanish international Xabi Alonso as the summer slowly approached. However, Real Madrid seem to have finally made a financially and tactically smart signing by extending the contract of Alonso.
For teams like Real Madrid and Barcelona, sometimes the club decides to make expensive signings or bring in a flashy player instead of making the smart purchase or buying a player that would work better for the team. Are they placing a bigger importance on jersey sales than team chemistry? Perhaps. Let’s put it this way: circling clubs are more likely to buy Fellaini from Everton at the beginning of the season over Liverpool’s Lucas Leiva…but let’s look at which player has given a better performance for their team this season?
With Madrid spending more money than what it takes to build most club stadiums with the purchase of Gareth Bale, the extension of Alonso’s contract with Los Blancos shows that Madrid is not making every decision by throwing copious amounts of money at a problem. Despite his slightly advanced age, Alonso is still calm on the ball and provides a fantastic cross-field pass to the deadly wings of CR7 and Bale. He also knows how to patrol in front of the defense to help keep the back-line from facing the full onslaught of any team’s attack.
This entire season, Alonso and co. have found themselves falling behind in a match and attempting to rescue points instead of simply manhandling a team and securing the three points early in a match. Barcelona and Atletico rarely find themselves working from behind and that is why they currently sit in front of Real. If Alonso can stay healthy instead of spending the first part of the season coming back from injury, he can help Ancelotti get his team back in the top spot.
No money spent from the transfer budget and yet Madrid are keeping a player with a wealth of Champions League experience, a World Cup winner, an integral part to the squad, and a player that should give them serious quality while he serves out his two year contract. If Madrid are able to rescue any type of success from this season or they are able to make an improvement during the next one, Alonso will be key in those exploits. So, the next time you see a perfectly weighted ball fly 60+ yards to CR7’s feet before he slips in and scores another goal, realize that this all happened by Madrid retaining Alonso…huge score for Los Blancos…huge…