Chelsea will almost certainly have had a plan in place going into the final week of the winter transfer window. But then the Blues sacked Frank Lampard and with that came inevitable change.
Thomas Tuchel was swiftly appointed the club’s head coach and a clean slate was immediately given to all in the first team.
Players who were out of favour under Lampard would be handed opportunities to impress. Those who were regulars would again have to earn their spot.
As a result, Chelsea’s transfer priorities were altered: the club went from attempting to trim down their bloated senior squad before the window closed to being content with its size in a matter of days.
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And in the process, players who looked like they could leave on deadline day now have futures at Stamford Bridge. Let’s start with the obvious…
It’s no exaggeration to state that Alonso’s Chelsea career was over with Lampard at the helm.
After a disastrous 45-minute display in the 3-3 draw with West Bromwich Albion in September, and questionable off-field decisions by the Spaniard at the Hawthorns, Alonso became persona non grata.
He wasn’t included in any of the following Premier League match-day squads under Lampard and only made the bench for Champions League games because 12 substitutes could be named.
Speculation over his future inevitably increased heading into January. Clubs in Italy were linked with the Spaniard, while Atletico Madrid were reportedly lining up a loan move for the 30-year-old. Barcelona were mooted as potential suitors as recently as last week.
But Lampard’s departure and Tuchel’s arrival nudged the first-team door back open for Alonso. And he burst through it against Burnley yesterday.
Alonso started in his favoured left wing-back role and slotted seamlessly back into…