Manchester United are planning a surprise move for Xabi Alonso as Louis van Gaal looks for an alternative to his first choice midfield transfer targets, which have failed to materialise yet this summer.
The Daily Star are running with reports from Italy that claim the former Liverpool star has emerged as a target for the Old Trafford club after their failure to move along any possible deals for Arturo Vidal and Kevin Strootman far enough.
Kop won't like it
Fans of the Anfield club might not take to seeing one of their favourite stars during his time with the Reds turn out for their bitter rivals, while Manchester United fans may have been hoping for fresher legs in the midfield area.
However, there is no doubting Alonso’s class and the time could be ripe to make a move for him, as the competition for places in the Real Madrid squad for his position has never been so fierce.
Toni Kroos, a former Manchester United target, joined the European champions this summer and has already looked at home in the midfield alongside Luka Modric. The World Cup winner is likely to be first choice in the deeper midfield positions, leaving little room for the others in the side.
Alonso will have to compete with Modric, Asier Illarramendi and Sami Khedira for first team football, so it is unlikely that none of them will leave before the window closes at the turn of the month.
Need more buys
Manchester United have already purchased Ander Herrera from Athletic Bilbao this summer in a £29million deal, but the playmaker and the other deep-lying midfielder options at Van Gaal’s disposal, do not have the passing range of Alonso.
Real Madrid need to offload a high-profile player after the £63million signing of James Rodriguez from AS Monaco, though Angel di Maria was expected to be the man to make way for Colombia’s World Cup star.
Vidal and Strootman appear to be more suitable options for a club the in the position of Manchester United, where they can bring short-term results while also supporting the long-term rebuilding project that Van Gaal has been given.
Alonso is now 32 and was never the best mover around the pitch even in his prime, so whether he would fit into the high press, perpetual movement style of a Van Gaal team is questionable.
However, he is as intelligent a midfielder as you are going to get and has the added bonus of having played in the Premier League for a number of years, so there would be little surprise if he hit the ground running, should he join Manchester United.