The agent of Barcelona defender Dani Alves stated this week that her client was on the verge of agreeing a deal with another club. Manchester United fans should cross their fingers in unison and hope Dinorah Santana wasn't referring to their club.
While signing a player of Alves's immense quality and considerable experience would understandably tempt the majority of managers at top clubs in need of a new right-back, the Brazilian is not the answer to Manchester United's full-back problems.
There's a reason why Barcelona are reluctant offer him a new contract, despite the fact they are unable to sign a replacement until January 2016. In fact, there are multiple reasons.
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Alves is in decline
First and foremost, 31-year-old Alves is an ageing player now in the early stages of decline. Full-backs tend to peak at a much younger age these days and the Barcelona No. 22 has struggled to produce his best performances at the Camp Nou following the departure of Pep Guardiola in 2012.
There can be little doubt that Alves is one of Barcelona's best signings of the past decade - if not longer.
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Barca's decision must alert United
The South American has repaid every penny of the £23 million Barcelona paid Sevilla in July 2008, with four years of stunning performances in arguably the best club side in football history.
But Barcelona are looking to the future - and understandably so. Instead of sticking with the ageing Brazilian with another few years, Luis Enrique is keen to begin the hunt for his successor.
That Barcelona are prepared to wave goodbye to Alves this summer despite the fact Martin Montoya and Douglas, who may never play for the Catalan giants again following his one and only appearance against Malaga in September, are inferior players should scream out 'avoid' to Manchester United.
Alves - No transfer fee, but big wages
United fans keen to see Alves at Old Trafford may point to the fact the Barcelona star is available on a free transfer - but this doesn't factor in his huge wages, the payment to his agent and the standard sign-on fee for a player of his reputation.
Furthermore, United must ask themselves how hungry Alves is to win silverware with a new club after leaving Barcelona.
He has won the lot at the Camp Nou - including multiple league titles and Champions League trophies - so how much will the opportunity to win a few more medals in England appeal?
United signed a major talent who could become the Premier League's best left-back in the form of Luke Shaw last summer - and they need a similar player at right-back.
Nathaniel Clyne a better option
Sadly it does not seem that Paddy McNair is the long-term answer to United's right-back conundrum, but Southampton's Nathaniel Clyne - a former teammate of Shaw's - could be.
The 23-year-old England international is a proven Premier League player with the talent to become the league's standout star in his position within the forthcoming years.
His contract expires next summer, so United could secure his services for a relatively cheap price, and he appears hungry to maximise his potential with a top club.
That's precisely what United require: determined players hungry to win improve and, ultimately, win trophies. Not over-the-hill players seeking one last big pay day before retirement.
Manchester United fans: would you welcome Dani Alves to Old Trafford this summer? Have your say in the comments below!
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