Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus right back Dani Alves have begun discussing terms leading to a possible transfer, as reported by Yahoo Sports correspondent Duncan Castles. The club are reportedly offering Alves a two-year contract with a third-year option.
The “legitness” of this report is certainly questionable. This is the exact kind of transfer rumor we see just about every summer as agents attempt to stir up interest in their clients, and Tottenham in particular seems to be a popular team to tease. Not only that, but Duncan Castles is known for some questionable reporting, if not downright propaganda to suit his interested parties. That said, this is a really interesting thought exercise, so let’s break down the two diverging opinions on this possible move.
The case against Alves
The reasons against bringing Alves into the squad are pretty obvious. He just turned 34 years old and he doesn’t have any Premier lLeague experience. Also, considering he’s a right back, he’s not known for being a defensive-minded player. He’s a player who has acted more as a winger than a fullback in his career both at Barcelona and Juventus (where he plays as a wingback alongside three central defenders). It’s fair to question whether he has the physicality to handle a role in a league with more high-stakes matches during the season. Not only that, but Mauricio Pochettino is notoriously demanding of his fullbacks -- so much so that he rarely lets them play two games per week. Is a fullback in his mid-30s capable of handling the kind of physical stress the Premier League will throw at him?
Setting aside his ability, financial aspects must also be considered. Alves is rumored to be on £120k p/w, and it’s likely that Spurs would need to at least match that number, immediately making him one of the club’s top earners. Alves is also a player who represents no sell-on value. Signing a two-year contract at the age of 34 probably means it’s his last deal, unless he signs one of those one-day contract thingys to retire at Barca or something.
The case for Alves
The case for bringing Alves in is just as apparent. He’s an incredibly accomplished player, with three Champions League winners medals (and possibly a fourth in a couple weeks), six La Liga trophies, and five UEFA Team of the Year awards. To put it quite simply, he’s a generational talent. With Poch having evolved the primary tactic to a 3-4-3, he probably wouldn’t be relied upon for so much defensive work. He’d give Spurs the kind of dangerous wide play we haven’t seen since Gareth Bale’s heyday on the opposite flank. He’s experienced, and his winning pedigree is something our squad currently lacks.
One of the inherent arguments for bringing in Alves is, “If not him, then who?” Of course, this assumes that Kyle Walker will be sold in the summer, as many indicators have pointed that way. The ideal option would be to buy an affordable, young, durable right back who will be a mainstay for the next handful of years, but those players just aren’t out there to be had. If you want a player like that, you’re going to have to spend a pretty penny not just in a large transfer fee, but in a hefty long-term contract. Tottenham are certainly in a position where they need to spend in order to keep the team together and morale high as they bridge the gap from White Hart Lane to the new stadium. But is it wise to sign a right back on a lucrative five-year deal when, by all accounts, Kyle Walker-Peters is one of the top prospects in Spurs’ pipeline? Despite the large outlay Alves will cost, the length of the deal (combined with his ability), makes it relatively low risk.
To be perfectly honest, I think the chances we actually sign Alves are slim-to-none. I hope I’m wrong, but this is still a rumor in it’s infant stages. If it progresses over the next few weeks, my thoughts may change, but right now I’m fully expecting these 700+ words to go to waste. But maybe there are other older, experienced options at the right back position we could target. The transfer makes sense in theory. Whether it pans out in practice is anybody’s guess.