Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in signing Benfica full-back Maxi Pereira, who will be out of contract at Estadio da Luz at the end of the season, according to the Express.
Uruguayan international Pereira, 30, is even money to have signed on the dotted line for a Premier League outfit before 2 September 2015.
It’s the latest line of transfer tittle-tattle linking the division’s elite to a full-back the wrong side of 29, with Daniel Alves also previously touted as a potential acquisition for both clubs.
Meanwhile 31-year-old Bacary Sagna was scooped up by Manchester City in the summer, earning himself a de facto promotion despite his advancing years.
The question is why would they want to be signing ageing senior pros in a position that is arguably the most physically demanding in modern football.
Tactics have evolved to the detriment of touchline-hugging wingers, with today’s wide-forwards playing more centrally to support a lone striker in a 4-2-3-1, the permutation du jour.
A full-back can often be the sole provider of genuine attacking width in a side and as a result must possess an enduring appetite for hard physical graft in order to dovetail such a contribution with their defensive responsibilities.
Notable exponents of the wide-defender’s art in recent times include Alves, Marcelo, Stephane Lichtsteiner, and Pablo Zabaleta, all almost comically relentless workers.
Pereira is certainly cut from the same cloth as a breed of full-back who may have been psychotically sadistic PE teachers in another life.
Given their ardour for stamina-sapping effort, splurging the wage budget on ageing examples of this modern phenomenon seems unwise, with time sure to begin to temper their athleticism.
Investing in younger full-backs such as marauding Ipswich Town man Tyrone Mings, already heavily scouted by the Gunners, must rate a far sounder course of action.