Xabi Alonso's proposed summer move to Chelsea now looks even likelier as the club privately confirmed to ESPN they have concrete interest in the player.
The midfielder’s future has been the subject of increased speculation over the last two days, with the Independent reporting that he could be available at a cut price when Jose Mourinho arrives at Stamford Bridge in the summer.
It now appears likely that the Portuguese coach will return to Chelsea once he leaves Real Madrid and, to a significant degree, it is Alonso’s relationship with the coach that is leading to an expected departure from the Bernabeu.
Sources have said that the 31-year-old is "deeply unimpressed" with the current tension at Madrid. While a number of the Spanish side’s squad have turned against Mourinho - and even lobbied for his sacking - Alonso is one of few players to stay ultra loyal to the manager.
As a part consequence of that, it is understood that both Alonso and Alvaro Arbeloa have been effectively ostracised by the Spanish national squad. The midfielder was one of the key exponents of the aggressive approach that Mourinho often used against Barcelona, greatly increasing friction.
Alonso is now known to want a move away from Spain, preferably to London. Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has also previously been an admirer of the midfielder and tried to sign him in 2009 before Alonso moved from Liverpool to Real Madrid.
Yet, although Arsenal may resurrect a bid, there are a number of reasons why he is far more likely to go to Chelsea.
Aside from Alonso wanting to keep working with Mourinho, his position is one area that the club specifically want to improve this summer. The Spaniard would be a perfect, with Mourinho understood to have made this known in negotiations.