Cologne - Sitting down to consider a list of FC Bayern München's greatest transfer coups, it's hard to look much further than metronomic midfield synergist Xabi Alonso.

The 32-year-old has only been at the club for a month following a half-decade spell in the Spanish capital with Real Madrid CF, but that's all the time he's needed to set a new Bundesliga record for most touches in a single game (204).

Made in Spain


"I wasn't counting, but it's nice to know," the 2010 FIFA World Cup winner said when asked about his magnetic feat in Saturday's 2-0 win away to 1. FC Köln. "They set out their stall to defend and we had to be very patient. We opened the scoring, but it was hard work from start to finish. It was a tough game."

Modesty aside, it's taken Alonso just five Bundesliga outings to surpass Spanish compatriot Thiago Alcantara's 177-touch record with a best-mark of his own that epitomises mentor Pep Guardiola's possession-driven philosophy. Right now, he is the club's indubitable Ballmagnet (ball magnet).

Midfield surpremo


"200-plus touches?!" remarked Thomas Müller following his side's first away league win of 2014/15. "I'd need a whole season to do that." Not to discredit the self-styled Raumdeuter's (space interpreter) countless other qualities, but with a touches-per-game average of 52.5 to Alonso's 163.5, there is an element of truth to the post-match hyperbole.

Indeed, to supplement the headline-grabbing touches, Bayern's idiosyncratic number three also managed to hit the mark with 175 of his 196 attempted passes at Köln's RheinEnergieStadion, beating his arrow-like and season-high precision of Wednesday night's 4-0 win at home to promoted SC Paderborn 07 by 21.5 per cent.

'We will enjoy his time at the club'


"Xabi Alonso has incredible skills, passing and ball control," rhapsodised Bayern sporting director Matthias Sammer in midweek. "He has an eye for the game, he knows how to defend and he is physically strong. "Now he just has to stay fit. Then we will enjoy his time at the club."

Flicking through the freshly inked stats at breakfast on Sunday morning, however, Bayern's steely superior must - along with the Spaniard's innumerable and appreciative collaborators - already be luxuriating in the masterstroke acquisition of one of football's all-time midfield greats.

Christopher Mayer-Lodge