The Pros and Cons of Dani Alves

Image from Lucas Figueiredo
Since Dani Alves announced via Instagram that he was leaving Paris Saint Germain speculation has been rife over where he'll play his trade next season, and inevitably Old Trafford has been mooted as a possible destination. Manchester United need to strengthen at right-back, even the dogs in the street know that (hence the well-publicised, protracted negotiations with Crystal Palace for the signature of  Aaron Wan-Bissaka). Therefore the apparent availability of a world class full-back should definitely be scrutinised by the club's hierarchy.  
For those unsure of his pedigree, here's a recap of the Brazil captain's domestic highlights since moving to Europe in 2002:

Sevilla

  • Copa del Rey x 1
  • Supercopa de España x 1
  • UEFA Cup x 2
  • UEFA Super Cup x 1

Barcelona

  • La Liga x 6
  • Copa del Rey x 4
  • SuperCopa de España x 4 
  • UEFA Champions League x 3
  • UEFA Super Cup x 3
  • FIFA World Club Cup x 3 

Juventus

  • Serie A x 1
  • Coppa Italie x 1

Paris Saint Germain

  • Ligue 1 x 2
  • Coupe de France x 1 
  • Coupe de la Ligue x 1
  • Trophée des Champions x 1 
Source: Wikipedia

Impressive is a massive understatement - this man is a serial winner. When you add in his 111 caps (and counting) for his country, 1 Copa America, 2 Confederations cups and 1 World Youth Championship it's easy to see why top clubs across Europe are weighing up the possible advantages and disadvantages of taking a punt on the Brazilian talisman.  
Should United take him on?  Let's look at the evidence:


Pros

1. Experience

There are few current players with a similar level of experience, and most that do exist are probably out of reach for Manchester United right now. Dalot and Wan-Bissaka (signature pending) are talented but raw, so having a world-class role model in their specialised position to learn from would bring their game on immeasurably.

2. Status

Despite his age (36), Alves is still held in high regard by fans and players throughout the football world. An authoritative presence in a fractious dressing room could make all the difference when Solskjær sets out his stall in August.

Cons

1. Age

While he clearly still has a lot to offer Alves does have a lot of miles on the clock, and the punishing schedule of domestic and international commitments will catch up with him at some point. Ask Gary Neville; as a full-back when you lose your pace there's nowhere to hide.

2. Player Harmony

If he signs for United and gets off to a flyer at the start of next season, where do the other full-backs fit in? Also, as a free agent he would likely expect a significant salary, so can United risk another huge wage earner contributing little while lesser paid stars pick up the slack?

The Verdict

For me, the cons outweigh the pros. United tried to get him three years ago when he left Barcelona and I'm convinced that at the time it would have been smart business. Since then, although he's continued to hoover up domestic honours, it has been in teams that walk almost unopposed to their respective league titles. At PSG in particular he has been found wanting in the season defining European games. As a romantic notion, I'd enjoy seeing a true legend of the modern game having one last hurrah in a United shirt before shuffling off into well earned retirement. However the pragmatist in me knows that what United need now is hunger, passion and the fearlessness of youth. Sadly, youth and Alves are two words that are rarely used in the same sentence these days, so it's a reluctant no from me.

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