We’re not sure that Pool fans are going to agree with these comments regarding a midfielder who has been a loyal and consistent performer for several seasons at Anfield. When you hear that a former Chelsea manager has been commenting on other players, you usually expect it to come from Jose Mourinho, who often struggles to engage brain and mouth. However, on this occasion, it’s his predecessor doing the talking.
We all know that Claudio Ranieri was toying with the idea of signing Xabi Alonso this season, especially with Gareth Barry seemingly on his way to Liverpool from Aston Villa. However, both deals fell through, leaving the Spaniard at Anfield where he’s featured pretty regularly for the first team. Setanta reports that, according to the Juventus manager, the main sticking point as to why the Turin club didn’t sign him comes down to his pace – or lack thereof.
“He was a player we wanted,” Ranieri said of Alonso.
“But he is a player, who even though he is an extraordinary man and a great professional, left me perplexed by the slowness of his movement in midfield.
“In the midfield of Rafa Benitez’s Liverpool, where all of them are little soldiers, he finds himself in a fantastic position.
“But in our midfield, he would have found it hard to support the midfield line seeing as Mauro Camoranesi and Pavel Nedved are not players that come back to give support like Liverpool’s wingers.”
Does Ranieri have a point about Alonso, or is this a case of sour grapes at not being able to sign the Liverpool man? It’s true that the Spaniard has never been blessed with pace, but you can never say that he’s a passenger in the team, and he does his fair share of tracking back and defending. What do Reds supporters think about the Italian’s comments?