At the end of the 2012-2013 European football season Fiorentina signed Marcos Alonso following the expiration of the Spanish defender’s contract with Bolton Wanderers.
Given that, La Viola were not required to pay a fee for the left back, as he moved to the Serie A side after scoring five goals in 46 appearances during a three-season spell with Bolton, who signed Alonso for an undisclosed fee in July 2010 from Real Madrid.
Graduation from ‘La Fabrica’
It was with the Spanish giants that Alonso spent his youth career, as at the age of eight years old he joined Real Madrid’s youth academy – La Fabrica – in 1999.
Nine years later Alonso was promoted to Los Blancos reserve team, Real Madrid Castilla, for whom he appeared 39 appearances performed consistently well.
He did so over the course of both the 2008-2009 and 2009-2010 Segunda B Division seasons, whilst with the conclusion of the latter of those approaching, he made his debut for Real Madrid’s first team, as a last minute substitute in a 2-0 away win over Racing Santander.
That was however to be Alonso’s one and only appearance for Real Madrid, as he left the 11-times European Champions to join Bolton.
Moving to Bolton
By quite a considerable distance Alonso’s most productive season with the now English League One side was their 2012-2013 Championship campaign, which also represented his last year with the club. Whilst helping Bolton to finish seventh in the Championship, whereby they narrowly missed out on reaching the play-offs on goal difference, Alonso scored four goals in 30 appearances. In the two previous seasons, Alonso had made just 16 appearances in all competition, whilst in May 2011 he was arrested in Madrid following a road traffic accident, whereby he was the driver of a car that crashed into a wall, which resulted in one of his passengers being killed. Despite that Alonso escaped a custodial jail sentence and was permitted to return to England to continue his football career with Bolton.
Fiorentina acquire Alonso for free
Although offered a new contract to extend his stay with Bolton at the end of the 2012-2013 season, Alonso instead joined Fiorentina on a free transfer. Initially Alonso’s playing time for La Viola was extremely limited, since the left back position he specialised in fulfilling was occupied by the club’s captain Manuel Pasqual.
Successful loan spell with Sunderland
Therefore so as to provide Alonso with the opportunity to play more first team football, Fiorentina’s then manager Vicenzo Montella allowed the player to join English Premier League Club Sunderland on loan for the second half of the 2013-2014 season in a move which proved to be worthwhile for all parties concerned. Specifically in making 20 appearances for Sunderland Alonso helped the club not only reach the final of the League Cup, which they lost 3-1 to Manchester City, but also retain their place in the top tier of English football.
Flourishing for Fiorentina
Alonso then returned to Fiorentina for their 2014-2015 campaign, during which he made 35 appearances, with ten of those arriving in the club’s run to the Europa League semi – final, which they lost 5-0 on aggregate to Sevilla.
Subsequently last season, Alonso firmly established himself as La Viola’s first choice left back, displacing Pasqual in order to do so, with the former Real Madrid defender continuing in that role during Fiorentina’s opening two games of the 2016-2017 Serie A campaign against Juventus and Chievo, as he played the entirety of those matches.
The latter of those ended in a 1-0 victory for Paulo Sousa’s side, with Carlos Sanchez on loan from Aston Villa scoring the only goal of the game.
Fiorentina profit handsomely from sale of their fine servant Alonso
That transpired as being Alonso’s last for Fiorentina, with him being sold to Chelsea for £23m, to present La Viola with a handsome profit for a player, who they acquired for free just over three years ago.
Given Alonso’s relatively modest career, whereby he has neither played in the UEFA Champions League nor been capped for Spain, it is questionable as to whether the astronomical fee which Chelsea have parted with to secure his services represents his true value.
However it is far from uncommon for European clubs to pay inflated prices for players, with that being a prominent theme of the current transfer market.
As such Fiorentina have been a major beneficiary of that in terms of their sale of Alonso to Chelsea. In order to sign the 25-year-old the club were required to make him the second most expensive defender in their history behind David Luiz, who the Chelsea’s manager Antonio Conte made the decision to resign from Paris Saint Germain for £34m on the same day that they bought Alonso.
Subsequently La Fabrica graduate is set to embark upon a third spell in English football, following his previous experiences with Bolton and Sunderland, as he will endeavour to establish himself as Conte’s first choice left back, similar to the way in which he did so successfully at Fiorentina.
Ultimately La Viola has been served extremely well by both Alonso’s performances and sale to Chelsea.