In the first of a new series of articles, us Lion of Vienna Suite-ites are going to take a look back at some notable names from the not-so-distant past, and bring you slap bang up to date with how they're getting on away from Bolton Wanderers.
Given that he's just scored for Fiorentina in the Europa League away to AS Roma, Spanish fullback Marcos Alonso becomes the first subject in the 'Where Are They Now' series - primarily because I just thought of it.
A bit of background, Marcos Alonso Mendoza started his career with Real Madrid, following in the footsteps of his famous footballing family. He left Spain for England having made just the one appearance for the Real Madrid first team, joining an Owen Coyle-led Bolton Wanderers for £2.2m in 2010.
Injury and the fact that he struggled to get to grips with the English game saw his initial progress stunted, making just four appearances. At the end of his second season the club suffered relegation from the Premier League with Alonso making just five league starts, and impressing precisely no-one. His lack of pace and weak physical frame saw him struggle with the high-tempo and physical nature of the English top flight. He was often dropped in favour of Paul Robinson at left-back, which tells you all you need to know.
His third season saw moderate improvement, which surely was a consequence of us dropping to the Championship and a slightly slower pace. His technique, so lacking in the Premier League, stood out amongst assorted cloggers. Whilst remaining a defensive liability, Alonso proved a threat at the other end, scoring four times in his 26 outings. He battled Stephen Warnock for the left-back slot, and won out, making the position his own after Christmas.
News broke later on in the year that Alonso was to sign for Italian side Fiorentina on a Bosman free, a move that was announced and confirmed at the end of the season. He made just 46 appearances for Bolton over three years, costing us a princely £47k per game. Not good.
He struggled on arrival in Serie A - his lack of defensive quality exposed in a league which has traditionally prided itself on the strength of the defensive game. He was loaned out to Sunderland that same season, making 16 appearances under the stewardship of Gustavo Poyet. Reports from the North East were surprisingly favourable, which indicated that maturity had perhaps finally reached the Madrid-born defender.
Recalled by Fiorentina manager Vincenzo Montella, he has made 19 appearances to date during the 2014/15 season, making the left-back berth his own. The fact that he has become a regular at a top European side is perhaps no surprise considering his pedigree, but it comes as a surprise to me given how poor he generally was for the mighty Bolton Wanderers.
Fair play to the lad.
We will watch his career with interest, perhaps with a tinge of regret that we only saw flashes of ability coupled with a whole lot of disappointment.