Reports are slightly confused at Manchester United on whether David de Gea might be leaving or not.
The club’s No. 1 goalie has been linked with a move to Barcelona and ex-Red Devil, Gary Neville believes that if he is going they need to arrange a swap with the Nou Camp. Dani Alves has been linked with the club a few times already this season and it appears his time at Barcelona is now up. The Brazilian’s agent has confirmed he will leave in June when his contract expires and this has brought great excitement to Manchester. But, would he be the right signing as a swap for their best goalkeeper?
According to a Spanish newspaper, Man United have put forward a three-year contract for the 31-year-old. Alves has been a long standing player for Barcelona and his talent and knowledge would bring a new standard to the Red Devil’s defence which has been remarkably weak so far this season. A three-year contract would bring a change in van Gaal’s approach. Since taking over as manager he has not offered more than a one-year contract for a player over 30. This deal could show just how much the Dutchman rates Alves.
As good as he has been in his career, Alves would be 34 by the time his contract is up at Old Trafford and as he gets older he is likely to lose some of his skill and pace. As a long term solution he isn’t the right-back they will want.
Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne has been named as a top target for United to become a permanent right-back. With it looking like Rafael is on his way out in the summer, the gaffer is wanting to improve the weak link in his team – the defence. The English international would be a great signing for United but it is unlikely they will sign both Alves and Clyne. Alves may be getting to the end of his career but he isn’t the type of player who wants to finish is sat on the bench.
Alves might not be a long term solution for United but someone with that much knowledge of playing in Europe brings more than just his football skills to the club. The defender will bring an understanding of how to play against the bigger clubs and as van Gaal hopes to challenge in Europe as well as in the Premier League, Alves will be able to show the younger defenders skills and a mind-set they need.
van Gaal wanted the Brazilian to make a decision by the end of the month but with de Gea’s future still uncertain there is a lot more talks that need to be made before clubs start swapping their players around.
In Alves, United would get talent, skill and a good knowledge but his age is against him where as with Clyne van Gaal would gain a young, talented Englishman who has many more years of football ahead of him.
There is no way a decision has been made yet but it is hard to see both these right-backs signing for the club. van Gaal has to work out where his priorities lie and start narrowing down the targets. United have been named with that many players they could start their own league if they signed them all. As the transfer window draws closer it’s time to shorten the list.