Manchester United are optimistic that they are leading the race to sign Barcelona defender Dani Alves on a free transfer should he leave the Spanish club after the Champions League final.
Alves looks certain to leave Barcelona with his contract running down, and the Brazilian claimed he had been “disrespected” by his current club off the pitch ahead of the Berlin final against Juventus this Saturday.
His comments appeared to pave the way for a move to French champions Paris Saint-Germain, but United are reported by The Guardian to be confident the right-back has no intention of moving to Paris because he doesn’t want to join the club.
Seven players Manchester United regret letting leave
Seven players Manchester United regret letting leave
1/7 Diego Forlan
Forlan was absolutely useless at Manchester United (aside from a double against Liverpool that United fans still sing about). The Uruguayan took eight months and 29 games to get his first goal and managed just 10 league strikes in the 18 months he was at the club before being sold to Villarreal. However, he would go on to be prolific in Spain, first with Villarreal and then Atletico Madrid. At the 2010 World Cup he even won the player of the tournament award.
2/7 Jaap Stam
The Dutch defender spent three seasons at Old Trafford and won three league titles and the Champions League. Despite that he was allowed to leave after making some controversial comments in his autobiography. Sir Alex Ferguson thought it made sense to sell him to Lazio because Stam had appeared to 'lose a little bit' anyway. However, he was superb in Italy and Fergie later conceded 'in playing terms it was a mistake'.
3/7 Paul Pogba
Pogba was just beginning to emerge at Manchester United when he left the club for Juventus. He was accused of disrespecting the club and United arguably didn't do all they could to keep him. It didn't take long for the Frenchman to establish himself in Italy and he's now valued at around £60m.
4/7 Gerard Pique
Having snatched Pique from Barcelona's youth academy, in 2008 he returned to the Nou Camp. The Catalan side matched a £5m buy-out clause for the defender and United respected the Spaniard's wish to return to his homeland. The then 21-year-old would develop into one of the best defenders in Europe and win numerous titles with Barcelona, plus the Euros and World Cup with Spain.
5/7 Patrice Evra
More recently, Evra was allowed to leave the club. The Frenchman spent eight years at the club but was deemed to be a fading force and sold to Juventus for £1.2m. In retrospect, Manchester United must have wished they could have called on his experience during tough spells of the most recent campaign, whilst suggestions that he's past his best have been ridiculed by his role in taking Juventus to the Champions League final.
6/7 Carlos Tevez
'Welcome to Manchester' was how Manchester City celebrated signing Tevez, who just the season before had been at United. The Argentina international left Old Trafford after difficult talks that resulted in the player informing the club he wouldn't be staying. Having let a player who helped them win two league titles and the Champions League slip through their grasp, he would go on to win the Premier League and FA Cup with their nearest rivals.
7/7 Paul McGrath
Wanting to rid Manchester United of its booze culture, Ferguson let McGrath, who appeared to be drunk during a TV interview, leave for Aston Villa for a mere £450,000. A couple of years later he won the PFA Player of the Year award and helped Aston Villa beat Manchester United in the final of the League Cup.
United’s hopes of landing Alves, who currently earns £120,000-a-week at the Nou Camp which would comfortably fit into United’s wage structure, was given a boost when their main rivals in the race to land him appeared to rule themselves out.
PSG head coach Laurent Blanc appeared to rule his club out of the running for Alves’ signature, although his reasoning was not that a move to United is on the cards.
"Dani Alves will not come to PSG," Blanc said. "I do not think so anyway. He is out of contract but his intention is to extend with Barca.
"It is a game he is playing with his club, he's awaiting their proposal. It's nice for the press to have something to talk about, but there has been no contact that I know of."
Alves will confirm his decision after the Champions League final, with both Barcelona and Juventus bidding for an historic treble having already secured league and cup success in Spain and Italy respectively.
"From June 7 I'll announce my future,” Alves has said previously.
"My intention was not to speak, but I haven't been respected with a lot of silly things. It's gone too far. I don't want anybody to influence my decisions. My future only depends on me."
The right-back position has proven a tricky one to fill since Gary Neville hung up his boots, with Alves’s compatriot Rafael failing to push on as the club had hoped. Both Chris Smalling and Phil Jones have been deployed on the flank but look to have a future in the centre, while Antonio Valencia – a natural winger – has been forced to cover in defence this season.
A player of Alves’ calibre – having won five La Liga crowns and bidding for a third European Cup since joining Barcelona in July 2008 from Seville – would likely slot straight into Van Gaal’s first-team plans, but at 32 years old his best days could well be behind him.
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