Dani Alves to Manchester City: Can Brazilian be Pep Guardiola’s bargain signing after Juventus exit?
As Dani Alves leaves Juventus, Sky sources understand Manchester City are interested in bringing the Brazilian to the Etihad Stadium. That looks like it would be a shrewd move by Pep Guardiola, writes Adam Bate.
The accepted wisdom this summer was that Manchester City needed younger full-backs.
Whether it was the 31-year-old duo of Gael Clichy and Aleksandar Kolarov on the left or Bacary Sagna and the popular, but ageing, Pablo Zabaleta on the right, this had emerged as the problem position long before Pep Guardiola turned to Jesus Navas.
Fresh blood and fresher legs would be needed for the City coach to play his way. So, on the face of it, the pursuit of 34-year-old Dani Alves could be seen as something of a curiosity. The Brazilian is older than all but one of the above full-backs. He is not exactly in the age bracket expected as part of Guardiola’s squad rebuild.
But then, some players are worth making an exception for.
Alves was, of course, part of Guardiola’s famed Barcelona team. Between 2008 and 2012, they won two Champions League trophies and a dozen other pieces of silverware. Alves has used the past five seasons even more constructively than his old boss – adding another Champions League medal and completing the double in each of his past three seasons.
In doing so, he has become the template for the modern attacking full-back. A player still happy to be defined by that term but not constrained by it. His interpretation is more adventurous than most. For example, despite the much-heralded link ups with Xavi and Andres Iniesta, it is Alves who has provided more assists for Lionel Messi than anyone else.
The sight of him marauding down the right flank is a customary one, switching between his posting within the back-four and the wing-back role with ease during his year at Juventus. Indeed, Alves only seems to have increased in effectiveness with age, intervening at vital moments for the Italian champions over the past campaign.
Most notably, there was his stunning strike against Monaco in the Champions League semi-final, having already provided two assists in the first-leg victory. „Did you see his assists? That’s what a central playmaker does,“ enthused Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri afterwards. He came up with more than any other Juve player in last season’s competition.
Indeed, only Toni Kroos created more chances in the entire tournament than Alves. He is a big-game player with a temperament that allows him to embrace the biggest of stages. Typically, he also came up with a goal and an assist as Juventus completed the double with their Coppa Italia final win over Lazio last month. His qualities translate to other leagues.
Alves has retained his trademark capacity for adventure and the physical assets remain. If it was not for the fact that Alves had been at the top of the game for over a decade, with 100 caps for Brazil and his age a matter of public record, there would be little reason to think he was anything other than at the peak of his powers.
That fact will have persuaded Guardiola that he represents a bargain. As Messi himself once said: „It would be difficult to find another like him.“ So why opt for an Alves-type full-back, a younger but more expensive imitation, when the real deal is available instead? With the signing of Alves, City’s weakness can become one of their greatest strengths overnight.
That the club’s pursuit of Kyle Walker is set to continue is an acknowledgement that this is not a long-term solution. But the decision to chase Alves is also an indication that Guardiola needs short-term answers too. Having just endured a trophyless season, the prospect of another is both unpalatable and unprecedented since the turn of the decade.
Guardiola has had to deal with the sceptics, those who wrongly argue that his success was inevitable at clubs such as Barcelona and Bayern Munich. Perhaps the naysayers will present similar arguments about Alves, but the fact that he also won two UEFA Cups with Sevilla and went close to a shock La Liga win with the club in 2007 hints at something more.
Alves’ infectiousness is something Guardiola wants around. A unique character whom even Gigi Buffon reportedly turned to in the hope of unlocking Champions League glory, he brings the intangibles to City as they look to build a winning culture. Despite their success, Alves adds to that. He is a man Guardiola trusts to do it. And a man who trusts in Guardiola too.
„Tactically, I’ve improved under Pep, learning to do the simplest thing, which sometimes is the most difficult thing,“ he told The Guardian in 2012. „I never thought that a team could press like we do: from minute one to minute 95, pressuring the ball and in the opposition’s half. Pep’s greatest success is convincing players, even great players, to do that.“
If he can convince Dani Alves to keep doing it at 34 then why not the rest of City’s squad? After all, it’s a group with fewer Champions League medals between them than the veteran. Alves may not have youth on his side but he has just enough youthful exuberance to get by. Perhaps he could yet prove a transformative signing for his old coach. And his new club too.Soccer Accumulator Bonus
Our fantastic Euro Soccer accumulator offer gives you the chance to earn a bonus of up to 100% on accumulators on the top domestic leagues in Europe along with the group and knockout stages of the Champions League.
This offer applies to returns on pre-match accumulators of 3 or more selections on Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets for the English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga 1 or UEFA Champions League.
The maximum bonus that you can receive is €100,000 or currency equivalent. The bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based .on the remaining active stake. If a qualifying bet is edited .using our Edit Bet feature. The bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply. Double Chance bets or combination bets with bonuses. Such as Lucky 15’s or Lucky .31’s do not apply for this offer.
If your bet is successful, we will add the following bonuses to your returns:
Bet Type Bonus
14-folds and upwards 100% bonus
Terms and Conditions
Applies to straight pre-match accumulator bets on the Full Time Result or Result/Both Teams To Score markets for UEFA Champions League, English Premier League, Italian Serie A, Spanish Primera Liga, German Bundesliga .1 or Australian A-League matches. Maximum bonus €100,000 or currency equivalent. Soccer Accumulator Bonus does not apply to Double Chance bets or combination. bets with bonuses such as Lucky 15’s, Lucky 31’s etc.
If any selections are postponed/void then the bonus will still apply, but the percentage bonus added will reflect the actual number of winning selections. For example, an 8-fold accumulator with 7. winners and 1 postponed match will receive a 30% .bonus to returns.
The bonus part of your returns will be added to your account within 24 hours of your final selection having played.
This bonus will not apply where a stake has been fully Cashed Out. Where a stake has been partially Cashed Out, the bonus will be calculated based on the remaining active stake.
If a qualifying bet is edited using our Edit Bet feature, the bonus will be calculated based on the new stake. Where a bet has been edited to include or amend a selection for an event that is In-Play, the bonus will no longer apply.
Where any term of the offer or promotion is breached or there is any evidence of a series of bets placed by a customer or group of customers, which due to a deposit bonus, enhanced payments, free bets, risk free bets or any other promotional offer results in guaranteed customer profits irrespective of the outcome, whether individually or as part of a group, bet365 reserves the right to reclaim the bonus element of such offers and in their absolute discretion either settle bets at the correct odds, void the free and risk free. bets or void any bet funded by the deposit bonus.
In addition bet365 .reserve the right to levy an administration charge on the customer up to the value of the deposit bonus, free bet, risk free bet or additional payment to cover administrative costs. We further reserve the right to ask any customer to provide sufficient documentation for us to be satisfied in our absolute discretion as to the customer’s identity prior to us crediting any bonus, free bet, risk free bet or offer to their account.
All bet365 offers are intended for recreational players and bet365 may in its sole discretion limit the eligibility of customers to participate in all or part of any promotion.