Dani Alves has led a charmed life at Barcelona, collecting 16 medals since his arrival from Sevilla in 2008. But time moves on and so too do contracts, and Alves’ is set to expire next June.
The fact that the Catalan giants have yet to offer him a new deal is a pretty strong indication that he won’t be in Messi’s grace next season but, if we needed further confirmation, the Brazilian provided just that earlier today when he spoke to O Globo newspaper.
“Next year I’m moving to England. I’m going to play at the home of football. This will be my last season at the club.”
Once one of the best players in world football, recent years have seen Alves’ level drop, much to the chagrin of the Camp Nou faithful who demand nothing but the best. In fairness, however, Alves’ drop has been smaller in stature to this Barcelona side as a whole. He’s still a Top 5 right-back and without him on the pitch, the Blaugrana tend to be worse off as Douglas and Martin Montoya have yet to prove themselves.
But Luis Enrique seems to think they are the future and for that, Alves is ready to move to the Premier League.
So where might he end up?
Alves’ overall makeup would seem most logical at a club like Manchester City but Manuel Pellegrini has the fantastic Pablo Zabaleta, so that option feels unlikely. At Chelsea, Branislav Ivanovic continues to prove himself indispensable while Cesar Azpilicueta can provide cover on the right in the instance Jose Mourinho awards Felipe Luis playing time on the left. That said, if John Terry is to retire soon it’s Ivanovic who would move centrally, which could provide an opening for Alves on the right.
Liverpool presents an interesting option as Glen Johnson’s inconsistency is a worry and 20-year-old Javier Manquillo could take some time to adjust to the pace of England. A more likely scenario is Arsenal, as Arsene Wenger is known to love a player on a free although Alves’ wage demands could be an issue. Calum Chambers is the current right-back but he’s being groomed more as a central player, meaning Alves’ only competition would be Mathieu Debuchy. But, in fairness to the Frenchman, he looked quite strong in his limited appearances with the Gunners and it would seem an odd choice to pay his transfer fee one summer only to discard him the next.
Which leaves the obvious, most likely choice, Manchester United. Yes, their biggest issue is at centerback, but Rafael is hardly lighting it up on the right. Replacing him with a more capable and dangerous Brazilian would seem a decent move for Louis van Gaal, not to mention wages wouldn’t be an issue and Alves would fit in nicely with the system and players the Dutchman has already brought into the club.