Dani Alves is yet to extend his contract at Juventus, which has piqued the curiosity of Chelsea. The Brazilian has settled comfortably in Italy while delivering a series of outstanding performances, but Antonio Conte believes that Chelsea offer an interesting proposition for a man in the latter stage of his career.
While Victor Moses proved to be one of the biggest success stories for Chelsea last season – and there were many success stories – he will need someone to vie for his place to preemptively strike against complacency. The dependable and versatile Cesar Azpilicueta is a trustworthy option for the right wing-back slot, but Conte has preferred the Spaniard in a centre-back role and would not want to compromise his desired back three. Therefore, a new right wing-back is imperative. The evergreen Alves has been a prominent player in another impressive season for Juventus, with the Brazilian’s attacking input in the Champions League crucial to helping the Italian side to the final, although they ultimately fell short of European glory.
While Alves would expect Juventus to romp to another Serie A title next season, Chelsea would offer what is probably his last chance of winning a Premier League title, as well as providing a reasonable opportunity to threaten in the latter stages of the Champions League. In terms of Premier League betting, Chelsea sit as third favourites behind the two Manchester clubs. The Blues are 10/3 to retain their title, but Alves would undeniably expect Chelsea to win consecutive leagues if he were to join.
It would be an atypical transfer policy for a side that has won the title to chase the signature of players in their mid-thirties, with experience often the watchword for relegation candidates or promotion chasers. But when the right player comes along, there is no need for big clubs to be picky. Take Manchester United’s one-season dalliance with Zlatan Ibrahimovic; the mercurial Swede is probably in the winter, never mind the autumn, of his career but he was the focal point of a successful season for Mourinho’s side.
With ever-improving fitness regimes, age is no longer the constraint that it once was. Outside of football, Roger Federer’s remarkable resurgence in the world of tennis when most thought he was verging on retirement is a testament that if you’re good enough, you’re young enough. The same applies to Alves. His legs have shown no sign of breaking down, which makes him an ideal candidate for the swashbuckling wide role that Conte would deploy him in.
There are rumours that Chelsea have been making overtures to Alves’s clubmate Alex Sandro, who operates on the opposite flank. However, the need for a left wing-back is surely less pressing given the consistency of Marcos Alonso. With a price ranging between £50 million and £60 million being touted, Conte will have to make a decision over whether that is the best use of finances or not.
An easier decision would be whether Alves is value for money. Juventus have offered the Brazilian a contract in the past few days in the hope of warding off the lurking Chelsea, with Manchester City’s Pep Guardiola also allegedly keen on a reunion with his former player. With Alves’ current contract set to expire next year, it would not require a considerable transfer fee to prise the star away from Juventus. Wages are a different story, with Chelsea likely to be expected to match Juventus’ offer of £3.5 million per season. However, to sign a world-class player for a small transfer fee is something that a pragmatist like Conte will not want to miss out on.