Manchester United and Chelsea have been dealt a transfer blow in their pursuit of Spain star Xabi Alonso.
The midfielder is out of contract at Real Madrid in the summer, and has been heavily linked with a return to the Premier League – potentially for nothing in a pre-contract agreement that could be negotiated with either the Blues or Red Devils.
However, Carlo Ancelotti is confident that Los Blancos will be able to keep the 32-year-old at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the manager expecting a ‘solution’ to be reached by the two parties.
"As for Xabi Alonso, I think that we will find a solution and reach an agreement between the club and the player,” said the Italian following his side’s friendly victory over PSG, according to Goal.com.
The news will be a blow to interested parties, who will now fear the possibility of landing Alonso at a potential bargain price is now over.
Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho has been courting the player, having worked with him previously during a spell in La Liga.
The Blues remain in Premier League title contention this season, but are yet to find top form in west London under ‘the Special One’.
Alonso would have provided Chelsea with some stability in a defensive midfield position as part of a 4-2-3-1 formation, but the Stamford Bridge outfit may now need to look elsewhere in the window.
As for Manchester United, the news is another blow to manager David Moyes after a tricky opening spell in charge of the champions.
The Scot was always going to face difficulties after replacing Sir Alex Ferguson at the Old Trafford helm, and after failing to make his mark in the summer transfer window, the club have struggled to keep pace at the top of the table.
Alonso’s arrival would have been a transfer coup for Moyes, but it appears unlikely that the Manchester United boss will now be able to beat his rivals to the coveted signature.