The only people who could picture Xabi Alonso in a Bayern Munich uniform were the people who put him in one while playing their video games. When Javi Martínez went down to injury, Alonso came in as much needed depth. He was the centerpiece of what Bayern did for most of the season, but what started as a blessing turned into a curse. At age 33, his role next season probably should not be as big as it was this campaign.
His Season Performance
Had Martínez not gotten injured, who knows whether or not Alonso would have made his way to Munich. He came with a hefty price tag for a player of his age – one several were up set by with the departure of Toni Kroos – but he proved right away he was the single-pivot plug Pep Guardiola was looking for. The entire run of play was run through him, and Bayern thrived in possession because of it.
The attacking presence of Franck Ribéry and Arjen Robben took a lot of pressure of central midfield. When they got injured, Alonso was under pressure much more often, and his defensive inefficiencies were exposed. Eventually he got more midfield structural support with Bastian Schweinsteiger, but the dream duo never got a good enough rapport going to be a sustainable option. He was still an important deep playmaker Bayern needed to build up the attack, but with limited options in attack, his job got a lot harder. Alonso was one of the first names on the team sheet the entire season, but his age began to show come March and April.
Next Season's Prospects
Alonso's original agreement was to come for two years, where he can bridge the gap between Bayern's contemporary goals and their future aspirations. After receiving a strong commitment in his first year, can he receive the same commitment in year two? Bayern are bringing Pierre-Emile Højbjerg back in the team, and Joshua Kimmich did not transfer to Bayern for €7 million to watch from the bench. If Bayern want to refresh their midfield, Guardiola cannot rely on Alonso as he did in the 2014/15 season.