After an epic battle lasting many years, Dani Alves has finally signed for Barcelona. [I may or may not be kidding about the epic battle, but it is true that Barca have been trying to sign Alves since 03-04.] His contract is for four years and the buy-out clause has been set at 90 million euros.
For those who don't know him, he's probably the best rightback in Europe, and has been for a good two or three seasons. [Which, along with Sevilla president Jose Maria del Nido's ability to drive a hard bargain, explains the 29 million euro price tag.] You may recall the numerous occasions on which he embarrassed our defence. That's not to say that he's a brilliant defender - he's alright, and his work-rate is insane, but the rest of the defense are going to have to cover for him in defence this coming season, as he runs all over the pitch making the attack work.
Sevilla built their team around his attacking capabilities and were well-rewarded for it. For various reasons, Barca can't do the same, but it is hoped that he will link up well with Leo Messi and help start attacks from deep.
In his comments, coach Pep Guardiola confirmed that he would be played primarily at rightback. When asked about the possibility of him and Messi forming a devastating partnership on the right [I am so excited to see them play together], he admitted that if they both played well Barca could have the best right flank around. [He then of course hastened to add that it depended on the collective effort, in line with his general message so far.]( Collapse )
News round-up (depression time edition) later.