Few full-backs have been courted as extensively as Barcelona’s Dani Alves, with just about every elite club on the planet, including his own, keen to secure his services.
The adventurous Brazilian, who has been a target of Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal and Liverpool in recent months, has today moved to declare he doesn’t have a pre-contract agreement with Manchester United as he’s still considering a new deal at the Nou Camp.
Whether or not he inks the terms Los Blaugrana put to him will depend on how significant the pay cut the Catalan club want him to take is.
Whatever his decision, Man Utd would be better served swerving the 31-year-old anyway, with a superior solution to their apparent right-back situation available in the shape of Torino’s Matteo Darmian.
The alleged going rate for the Italian’s services stands at £15m and, while it’s hard to envisage Alves costing more in transfer fee terms alone, the former Sevilla star’s wage demands would far exceed those of the Azzurri international.
Another big attraction is the age discrepancy between the two targets as, at 24, Darmian is seven years Alves’ junior.
Last season he missed just one Serie A match and his consistency at right-back for the lesser-lauded Turin team saw him rewarded with a starting spot in Italy’s World Cup team.
Over the course of the previous campaign, Darmain recorded averages of 2.9 tackles and 1.3 interceptions per outing, completing over 83 per cent of his passes too; impressive digits for a player representing a team that was separated from the bottom half of their division by just four points.
His numbers were even better the campaign before, with an incredible mean of 5.1 tackles per game across his 30 league appearances in 2012/13.
The attacking discrepancy between the pair doesn’t look too much different from a statistical point of view either, with the Italian matching the three league assists Alves mustered last season, despite his Barca side outscoring Torino by 42 goals.
A dependable stopper who’s capable of contributing going forward, Darmian is a well-rounded full-back whose young age will allow him to improve in the coming campaigns, which sees him surpass his prestigious Brazilian adversary in terms of value.