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Manchester City’s summer transfer business continues to impress with the club very close to announcing the arrival of Dani Alves on a two-year contract after his agreement with Juventus was rescinded on Monday evening.
At 34 years old, this is certainly not a long-term move for Pep Guardiola however the Brazilian showed he still has what it takes and then some to perform at the very highest level throughout his sole year in Turin.
Many expected the former Barcelona star to struggle in a team that wasn’t full to the brim with world class talent like that in Barcelona yet he arrived in Italy and transformed the style of the Bianconeri.
His dynamic performances at wing-back on the right hand side of Juventus’ midfield carried the team in Europe as they reached the Champions League final.
Still got it
Despite his advancing years, it is clear that Alves can still be a key figure in any team and Guardiola knows him well after making him a priority signing from Sevilla in his first summer in charge at the Camp Nou in 2008.
The Blues have desperately needed full-backs on both sides for the past two years and it was simply astounding that the former Bayern Munich coach didn’t address such a clear need last summer.
Gael Clichy, Pablo Zabaleta, Aleksandar Kolarov and Bacary Sagna were all persevered with yet out of the four only the Serbian remains at the Etihad Stadium one year on.
Benjamin Mendy is likely to arrive from Monaco to solve the issue at left-back however the club have become increasingly unwilling to entertain Tottenham Hotspur’s asking price of over £50 million for Kyle Walker with it clear the English right-back has fallen out of favour with Mauricio Pochettino.
Walker has been one of the standout right-backs in the Premier League for the past two seasons but there is almost certainly a premium which comes with him being English and Daniel Levy is known to be an incredibly tough negotiator with talks over any deal likely to stretch into mid to late August, something Guardiola simply can’t afford.
In Alves, he has someone who he trusts explicitly and is capable of performing to the highest standard for the duration of his contract.
Also rather crucially the Brazilian is well versed in Guardiola’s style of play and this understanding in defence is something that can only serve to help the Manchester club after a season of harrowing defensive errors which ultimately cost them both domestically and on the continent.
Business wise it also makes sense for the club with the former Juventus wing-back arriving on a free transfer, something which ensures his high salary, believed to be around £4.3 million a year as per Sam Lee, isn’t too significant an issue.
This two year period hands the club a buffer zone in which they can assess other long-term targets for the right-back position. Nelson Semedo is a standout candidate with the 23-year-old’s performances for Benfica excellent in the 2016/17 season.
Pablo Maffeo is a young talent already at the club who should be used as part of Guardiola’s squad this season.
The opportunity to learn from and work closely with Alves will do his own development the world of good and in truth he would have every right to feel hard done by last season when he was loaned to Girona in January, despite being the best player on the pitch in City’s EFL Cup defeat to Manchester United at Old Trafford.
Saving upwards of £50 million this summer doesn’t mean a great deal given Manchester City’s vast wealth, however it does allow them to prioritise other areas of concern with the club still in the market for an elite holding midfielder and a left-back.
As previously stated Mendy will likely be the full-back who joins yet in midfield the options range from Fabinho to the rather less coveted William Carvalho.
Moving forward City may well feel they have missed a trick in not targeting Steven N’Zonzi who looks set to move from Sevilla to Juventus.
Sealing business early
We haven’t even hit July and the bulk of Manchester City’s transfer business is now complete. Alves will arrive in the coming days and Guardiola will be able to start working with a near enough full squad throughout pre-season.
After the disappointments of his debut campaign, it is clear that both the club and the Spaniard are intent of hitting the ground running this term.
Written by Chris Winterburn
Follow Chris on Twitter @Chriswin4
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