Maurizio Sarri has suggested that he has the best left-back in Europe at this disposal in the shape of Marcos Alonso.
You’d do well to find a full-back as effective on the front-foot anywhere in the world. The Spaniard has directly contributed to three Premier League goals in the opening four fixtures of the season.
You could be forgiven for thinking that the threat Alonso posed to the opposition over the past two seasons was as a result of the more advanced role he was fielded in. In reality, he’s a defender with a unique attacking prowess.
He has proven that this season. Despite being fielded in a more reserved role by Sarri, he has been every bit as influential going forward. Sarri has clearly been impressed by what he has seen from the 27-year-old to date.
Speaking after Chelsea’s 2-0 victory over Bournemouth on Saturday afternoon, Sarri is quoted by the Independent saying:
“Alonso, at the moment, [in] this position at left-back is maybe the best in Europe.”
“Physical qualities at a top level, I think. He’s doing very well in the offensive phase. But I also think he can improve in the defensive phase.”
“If he improves that, he could be the best left-back in the world.”
We assume that Sarri is referring to European left-backs, opposed to those currently playing in Europe. That would discount the likes of Marcelo and Alex Sandro, who are considered two of the best in that role on the planet.
There is room for improvement for Alonso defensively. He has positional deficiencies which need to be addressed in order for him to leapfrog the aforementioned Brazilians.
If he continues producing in the final third, however, his shortfalls in the defensive phase will be considered minor details.