For the past few seasons, when it comes to ex-Reds being linked to an Anfield return, the name involved has reliably been Xabi Alonso. With the 33-year-old midfielder heading off to Bayern Munich for a season or two in Germany before an expected return to Real Sociedad before he retires, though, those links have dried up of late. Clearly, then, somebody has to step up as his replacement.
Enter Alvaro Arbeloa, who left for Real Madrid in the summer of 2009 after two seasons at Anfield. Since then, he has made 209 appearances for Los Blancos, his ability to play either fullback position helping to keep him in the rotation for the star-studded Spanish side. This season, though, appearances have been more limited. In the league especially, where Arbeloa has only started four times in a clear backup role.
That has in turn meant growing rumours that the fullback will move on, if not this window than in the summer at the very latest. According to whispers out of Spain that have been picked up by The Express in England, the player’s first choice would be a return to Anfield. There is as yet no word on whether the feeling is mutual and whether Liverpool are actually considering making Arbeloa’s rumoured wishes into reality.
If he indeed does wish to return, Liverpool will have been made aware of it, and it is likely Madrid would allow the depth player to leave for around the €4M he arrived for back in 2009. That was a long time ago, though, and Arbeloa, who was never the speediest of fullbacks, is now 31 years of age. That doesn’t make for the likeliest of targets if Liverpool are looking to replace Glen Johnson with a new first choice right back.
With Johnson—the man who replaced Arbeloa at Anfield—likely to leave at the end of the season on a free a veteran replacement like Arbeloa would be ideal for depth. Arbeloa is rumoured to be looking for a way out of Madrid because he’s only being used as depth there, though, so one has to question why he would come back to Anfield to fill a similar role. But if he is, and if he wants a return, he would be hard to pass up.