Arsenal prepare to rival Manchester United for Dani Alves

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Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur are prepared to rival Manchester United and join the race for Barcelona defender Dani Alves, with the clubs keen to find out whether he would be open to a move to the Premier League in January.

According to the Sunday Times, both Arsene Wenger and Mauricio Pochettino are keen on the Brazil international, who has been a target of Louis van Gaal for some time, and could try to exploit his contract situation in the January transfer window.

Alves' current contract at Camp Nou expires in the summer and he is yet to agree an extension. The report claims that his preference would be for a renewal to stay with Barcelona, but the club have not yet made efforts to discuss an extension.

With only six months left on his deal in January, Alves would be entitled to discuss pre-contract agreements with the Premier League trio and there is the possibility a deal could be arranged for the winter transfer window.

Alves joined Barcelona in 2008 from La Liga rivals Sevilla and has since been considered one of the leading full-backs in world football, playing a crucial role in the dominant sides managed by Pep Guardiola at the end of the last decade.

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Arsenal's interest in Alves could stem from a shortage in the defensive ranks since the summer. Arsene Wenger was criticised for not further reinforcing in the back line, which has now come back to haunt him with a series of injuries leaving the Gunners manager with few options.

Louis van Gaal has failed to find someone to reliably fill the position

However, one summer signing was Mathieu Debuchy, the French right-back replaced departed compatriot Bacary Sagna. So there seems little need for another full-back, especially as another new signing, Calum Chambers, has deputised well in the position after Debuchy was ruled out for three months with ankle ligament damage.

Defensive Problems

Meanwhile, Louis van Gaal has failed to find someone to reliably fill the position in his own side. Rafael da Silva is now the most senior right-back at Manchester United, but is regularly injured and is prone to rash actions, leaving the new Old Trafford boss far from convinced.

Spurs have been without regular right-back Kyle Walker for some time due to an abdominal injury and have deployed summer recruit Eris Dier there. The former Sporting Lisbon man is primarily a centre-back though and Pochettino's team are struggling to keep clean sheets.

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