Arsenal are a club that need to conduct serious transfer business if they are to return to the Champions League this season. There are budgetary concerns for Unai Emery, which could see him look to bring in a bargain or two before the transfer window closes. The Sun reports that the Gunners are one of the Premier League clubs eyeing a move for free agent Dani Alves. Tottenham and Manchester City have both been linked with the legendary Brazilian following his exit from Ligue 1.
The obvious appeal centres on Alves’ trophy-laden career. The former Barcelona and Juventus full-back has accrued an incredible 40 trophies across his playing career, following Brazil’s Copa America triumph over the summer. Although it can be said that he has been playing for the very best teams, there is no doubting the quality that the right-back has. He has been one of the best in his position ever and played a huge role in transforming the role. In his later years, he has displayed great leadership skills.
It is this characteristic that will appeal most to Unai Emery. Last season, Arsenal had a lack of leaders and that was evident in their struggles towards the end of the season. There seemed to be a lack of belief within the dressing room, which culminated in a collapse in the Europa League final. Although Alves may not have caused a change of result, he will be a positive addition to the squad.
There has been a drop-off in performance level, as Alves is now 36, but he can still contribute at the highest level. It wouldn’t be a signing similar to Stephan Lichtsteiner, who was far beyond his best when he pitched up in North London.
Last season, Alves contributed a goal and seven assists in Ligue 1, with a goal involvement every 203.1 minutes, an impressive return for a full-back. The overwhelming quality possessed by PSG compared to the rest of the division was partly the reason for that, but he showed that he still poses a threat in attack. More recently, he won the player of the tournament at the Copa America, displaying great athleticism and tenacity throughout Brazil’s matches.
Although Alves won’t be cheap in terms of wages, he is available on a free transfer and that will make him appealing to Arsenal. It won’t be an easy transfer to complete, as the Brazil captain will be inundated with offers. The links to Manchester City are a concern, due to the full-back’s pre-existing relationship with Pep Guardiola. They are also a team challenging for major honours, which Arsenal aren’t at this time.
However, Arsenal offers a unique challenge. There is potential at the club and Alves might see it as an opportunity to prove himself at a club not competing at the very top of the game. First-team football is likely to be easier to attain at the Emirates Stadium. He will bring quality both on and off the pitch. It wouldn’t be a long-term signing, but the Gunners need to focus on the short-term for now.