Manchester United have been linked with a possible move for Dani Alves in one of the upcoming transfer windows and reports have claimed the Barcelona defender wants a whopping £250,000-a-week to sign for his new club.
Louis van Gaal may be in need of a new right-back at Old Trafford but club officials would be out of their minds to sanction a deal that would see the Brazil international made one of the best paid players at the club.
Not worth it
Manchester City and Chelsea have also been credited with an interest in him and Manchester United would be better served leaving him well alone. It's not that Alves is not a good player, he quite clearly is, but the Red Devils just cannot afford such an extravagance.
It is not purely a monetary thing, though that will likely be the deciding factor, but there are issues at hand concerning to the club's identity and long-term future.
£250,000-a-week is a significant sum of money to hand out to any player and Manchester United already spend that much on the likes of Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and summer deadline day arrival Radamel Falcao.
Alves has great pedigree. He was a crucial member of the great Barcelona squad of Pep Guardiola that won countless trophies after he took over in 2008 and left in 2012. One could argue he was the leading attacking full-back in world football.
Approaching 29 at the end of this month, Alves isn't quite as effective as he once was and there is not much chance in him regaining that form, such are the physical demands of playing as a right-back. He is in the final year of his contract at Barcelona and has already declared he would be leaving at the end of this season.
A free transfer means interested clubs need not worry about a transfer fee and so the scope for what can be offered in terms of wages broadens - it is why so many players have taken advantage of the Bosman ruling over the years.
Coming into the latter stages of his career, nobody can begrudge Alves the opportunity to earn as much as possible in what is likely to be his last big contract as a professional.
However, there is a reason why Barcelona cannot agree a new deal with him. Were Manchester United to decide to splash out on him, there is a real danger that they are recruiting a player on the decline.
Van Gaal may be better served to stick with what he has rather than blowing a massive chunk of the wage bill on Alves. Though it could be argued that he would be better off doing that even if the Brazilian was not demanding astronomical wages.
Answer is already there
Rafael is a player that divides opinion quite regularly among football fans. He and his twin brother Fabio arrived at the club together as 17-year-olds in 2008 and both showed glimpses of promise that they would be able to make the grade.
Fabio eventually faded and joined Cardiff City before they were relegated last season, but Rafael earned more opportunities to impress and eventually made himself a regular in the starting XI under both Sir Alex Ferguson and David Moyes.
Now 24, the Brazil international will be expected to start producing top quality performances on a more regular basis. While he has not been doing so regularly enough, there are definite signs of improvement.
The penalty he gave away in the humiliating 5-3 defeat way to Leicester City last month summed up his issues with establishing himself in the Manchester United starting XI and giving his manager reason to believe he can trust him.
Some debate was had on whether the challenge by Leicester forward Jamie Vardy was a foul, as Rafael appealed, but there would be no debate to have if the right-back was stronger. His response to be being knocked over and dispossessed was an unwise challenge on the striker to give away a penalty.
Again, whether it was a foul or not is questionable, but the hot-headedness he displayed in response to his perceived injustice was the act of a youth player, not an experienced player supposedly heading into the prime of his career.
Undermining golden opportunity
Lapses in concentration and issues with controlling his aggression are themes of Rafael's development at Old Trafford, but his tenacity and pace going forward have convinced managers keep giving him more chances.
Injuries haven't helped in his development but the time is ripe now for him to claim the fist choice right-back sport in Van Gaal's starting XI. It is there for the taking; there can't have been many better chances for a player to establish himself at a club the size of Manchester United.
On the other side, United and Van Gaal need to trust in the youngster if he is going to realise his vast potential or at least promote a player from the academy. The stature of the club means they are connected with moves for players as good as Alves, but that would be a short-term fix.
A heritage of developing and blooding youthful talent still exists at Old Trafford, but the Moyes disaster and subsequent £150million spending spree on the likes of Angel di Maria, Ander Herrera and Radamel Falcao is in danger of pushing that spirit out of the club.
No Champions League football this season may have meant a sense of panic settling in at the club - the fear-stricken performances at the start of this season were illustrative of this - and throwing money at their problems has rarely been the answer.
Manchester United still have a talented squad, Van Gaal needs to have faith in them and his own skill as a coach - translate this in having faith that Rafael can step up as the season goes on and save the club wasting a large chunk of cash on his compatriot.
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