Transfer news: Chelsea eye Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso on a free transfer - reports

Former Liverpool player's contract expires at the end of the season

Chelsea are keen to sign Xabi Alonso on a free transfer next year, with the club hoping to sign Spaniard on a pre-contract in January.

The midfielder’s deal at  Real Madrid expires at the end of the season, and the Evening Standard have reported that Alonso, who enjoyed a good relationship with the Jose Mourinho during their three years together at the Bernabeu, will be able to sign a pre-contract agreement with a non-Spanish team in January. Sources in Spain suggest he will be offered a three-year contract at Stamford Bridge.

Mourinho may have rubbed up many of Madrid’s Spanish stars, such as Iker Casillas and Sergio Ramos, the wrong way when he managed the La Liga side, but Alonso was a vocal supporter of the Portuguese.

Speaking in June following Mourinho's departure from Madrid, Alonso commented: "He's someone who can touch a chord and knows how to perfectly transmit messages in the dressing room. He is a good communicator.

"He knows how and when to make quick decisions which can change the outcome of a game."

The Spaniard is yet to feature for Carlo Ancelotti's Real Madrid this season after suffering both groin and foot injuries this summer, but returned to full training this month.

Alonso won the Champions League and FA Cup during his five years at Liverpool and was an almost ever present in the Real Madrid team which won La Liga title in the 2011-12 season.

For Spain, Alonso has more than 100 caps and helped his country win two European Championships and the World Cup 2010.