Chelsea announce Marcos Alonso departure after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang deal

By Sports Desk September 01, 2022

Chelsea have farewelled Spanish left-back Marcos Alonso, announcing on Thursday that it was "mutual consent" leading to his departure.

It has been widely reported that Alonso was included along with a €14million fee in exchange for Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from Barcelona, although the Spanish giants are yet to announce Alonso's arrival.

He totalled 29 goals and 23 assists over his six seasons, winning the Premier League, Champions League, FA Cup, Europa League, Super Cup and Club World Cup in the process.

In the statement from Chelsea – which calls Alonso "a thoughtful and extremely likeable man off the pitch" – they highlight how he followed his father's and grandfather's footsteps in representing Spain on the international level.

"Deployed at left wing-back for 60 per cent of his 212 appearances, and at left-back for the rest, Alonso was confident in possession, strong in the air and an excellent set-piece taker," it reads.

"His performances for Chelsea earned him a call-up to the Spain squad for the first time in March 2018, following in his father’s and grandfather’s footsteps. The youngest Marcos Alonso leaves having represented his country on nine occasions.

"Everyone at Chelsea Football Club would like to thank Marcos for his service to the Blues and wish him all the very best for the rest of his career."

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  • PSG boss Luis Enrique shrugs off Barcelona speculation PSG boss Luis Enrique shrugs off Barcelona speculation

    Paris Saint-Germain boss Luis Enrique is fully focused on what is going on in France, and not paying attention to the situation at Barcelona.

    Reports this week suggested Barca may look to replace Xavi with PSG coach Luis Enrique, who led the Blaugrana to success during his stint in charge between 2014 and 2017.

    However, the former Spain coach is not interested in any speculation.

    Speaking ahead of PSG's trip to Metz on Sunday, he said: "I have already given my opinion on Ligue 1, which is much more competitive than I heard.

    "It is clear that there is a high level, with many excellent players. I was pleasantly surprised by the level, including the physical aspect, the coaches and the players.

    "I only look at what’s happening in France. I don't know [about Barcelona], I don't comment."

    Kylian Mbappe, who is leaving the club at the end of the season, missed PSG's win over Nice in midweek due to a hamstring issue.

    Bradley Barcola stepped up in Mbappe's absence, scoring and providing an assist in the 2-1 victory, and the 21-year-old has also been called up for France's Euro 2024 squad.

    "Barcola can improve everywhere, like the rest of the players, but above all Bradley is a very young player," Luis Enrique said.

    "One thing that I really like is that when you sign a youngster from another team, it's something that seems easy to accept such a challenge but it is very difficult.

    "You must understand that the level to be a starter is higher. When a young player like Bradley accepts that and with the performances he has already achieved, I think it's nice to see him at the Euros.

    "He deserves it. Next year, the challenge will be even bigger. Our goal for next season will be to look for other [signings], so they are in competition with those already present."

    Luis Enrique also knows he will have to adapt to life without Mbappe, who seems destined to join Real Madrid.

    "Without a doubt. One of the characteristics of a coach is to adapt," he said.

    "We prepared for this group of players but now, with those we can sign and those we already have, there will be tactical changes to come with an undoubtedly more balanced team. There is still room for improvement, in defence and attack."

    However, PSG will not limit themselves to signing younger players, but instead base their recruitment on the level of talent they are aiming to bring in.

    "We don't sign players based on their age but on their talent," Luis Enrique added. "We sign talent!

    "The transfer window will present us with different options and depending on what will be best for the team, we will try to strengthen ourselves. I also like the 30 or 35-year-old players who give a good level for the team. They are all young if you compare them to the coach."

  • Under-pressure Xavi says he still has Barcelona's trust Under-pressure Xavi says he still has Barcelona's trust

    Barcelona coach Xavi says he still has the club's trust, despite a steady stream of media reports president Joan Laporta may be minded to sack him.

    "I understand the noise but that changes nothing," Xavi told reporters on Saturday after a training session ahead of his side's game against Rayo Vallecano.

    The manager added that his focus was on winning the three points and "the team has an extraordinary base to compete."

    "We'll sit down with the president and if we have to talk about anything, we'll do that," he said about rumours of Laporta's loss of confidence in him. 

    "But everything is the same as it was three weeks ago. If there are any changes we'll let you know."

    Despite being a club great and winning LaLiga last season, Xavi has been under pressure this campaign after Barcelona failed to catch Real Madrid, who have already secured the title.

    In January, Xavi said he would resign at the end of this season, but last month he sat down with club officials and agreed to honour the last year of his contract until mid-2025 - with a series of unspecified conditions set by the club.

    However, Xavi told reporters on Thursday that the club's situation is difficult, especially in economic terms, and it was tough to compete with the likes of Madrid, in comments that reportedly angered Laporta.

    The club has a bloated wage bill, while a $1.6 billion euro ($1.7 billion) renovation project is also underway at the Camp Nou stadium.

  • Fifth-place finish would be 'amazing' for Chelsea, claims Pochettino Fifth-place finish would be 'amazing' for Chelsea, claims Pochettino

    Finishing fifth in the Premier League would be an "amazing" end to the season for Chelsea, so says Mauricio Pochettino.

    Chelsea have reeled off five straight wins to put themselves in pole position to clinch a European spot.

    The Blues sit sixth ahead of facing Bournemouth at Stamford Bridge on Sunday. If they win and Tottenham lose to Sheffield United, then they will finish fifth.

    However, should Chelsea lose, then they will be overtaken by Newcastle United, should the Magpies beat Brentford.

    "It's really important for us to finish in the way we are doing now, with the confidence and the way we are playing in the last few months," Pochettino said.

    "It's really important for the team, players, club to achieve one of the objectives, to play in Europe next season.

    "If we end up fifth, it'll be amazing for us. We need to do our job then see what's going on.

    "It's going to be a really tough game because Bournemouth are doing so well. Andoni Iraola is doing a good job but most important is to finish well and see if we have the chance to get the place [in Europe]."

    Bournemouth boss Iraola has been nominated for the Premier League's Manager of the Season award, and this week penned a contract extension.

    "I think it was quite fast and quite easy," Iraola said when reflecting on the decision to extend his terms.

    "We started talking and with managers I don't feel it's so important, a contract, as with players. In the end, managers have to perform well, you have to keep winning games.

    "Otherwise you are going to be in trouble, it doesn't matter the contract you have.

    "I think it is more a matter of renewing the confidence. It has been our first season together.

    "I am happy that everyone is in a good place and we can continue working together."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Chelsea - Cole Palmer

    Palmer has scored 14 goals in his last nine Premier League home games for Chelsea. Overall he has scored 16 times at Stamford Bridge this term, with no player ever netting more home goals for the Blues in a single campaign.

    Bournemouth - Dominic Solanke

    Solanke has scored the most goals (19), the most home goals (10) and the joint-most away goals (nine) of any Bournemouth player in a single Premier League campaign.

    MATCH PREDICTION: CHELSEA WIN

    Bournemouth’s 13 wins in the Premier League this term is their joint-most in a single season (level with 2018-19), while as it stands their 15 defeats is their fewest across a single top-flight campaign.

    Since the turn of the year, only the Premier League’s top-three teams have picked up more points than Chelsea (38 – W11 D5 L3). They are looking to win five games in a row for the first time since doing so between January and March 2022 under Thomas Tuchel.

    Chelsea have won nine of their last 11 Premier League home games (D1 L1), having won just one of their previous 14 at Stamford Bridge beforehand. The Blues have won their last three by an aggregate score of 13-0, last winning more in a row at home without conceding between November and January in 2014-15 (five).

    The Blues are unbeaten in four Premier League games against Bournemouth (W2 D2), having lost three of their four against them before this (W1).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Chelsea - 59.5%

    Bournemouth - 16.6%

    Draw - 23.9%

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