Tottenham approach Dani Alves as Mauricio Pochettino looks to beat Manchester City to defender deal

Duncan Castles

Tottenham Hotspur have initiated discussion with Dani Alves over a summer transfer to the Premier League.

The proposed move signals a significant departure from the Premier League club’s long standing policy of recruiting younger footballers on relatively inexpensive salaries, but would serve to rebalance a squad that has come up short in the pursuit of consecutive English titles.

In both seasons, Tottenham have impressed with the quality of their football in domestic competition, yet ended them trophyless after dropping League points unexpectedly or underperforming in cup ties. Their Europa and Champions League campaigns have proved particularly disappointing.

Although Tottenham’s squad contains some of the most highly valued players in the Premier League, it is notably short on individuals who have won major honours at club level. Only Toby Alderweireld has been part of a team that claimed one of Europe’s five leading League titles, and the Belgium defender’s contribution to Atletico Madrid’s 2014 Liga success was limited to 10 starts. Mauricio Pochettino has also yet to win a trophy as a manager.

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Dani, in contrast, has been a central figure in a succession of title winning sides. Starting with the first of Sevilla’s back-to-back UEFA Cup triumphs in 2005, the Brazil international has accumulated six Liga titles, three Champions Leagues, three FIFA Club World Cups and five Copas del Rey. In his first season since leaving Barcelona for Juventus, the right back is on the verge of a Scudetto and is due to play Coppa Italia and Champions League finals.

The 34-year-old has a further season on his lucrative Juventus contract with an option for a third campaign, but holds a long standing desire to test himself in English football. Before joining Juve last summer, Dani gave an interview to The Guardian in which he stated that: “It’s special: there’s a corner and it’s like it’s a goal. I’ve always said that playing in England is something I’ve got pending. I don’t know when but I’d like to play there, to experience in person what I see from the sofa. The way the people live football. Wow, it’s incredible. Full stadiums, living every moment.”

Tottenham are understood to have proposed an initial two-year deal with an option for a third season. More detailed conversations are scheduled to take place after Juve meet Real Madrid in the Cardiff Champions League Final early next month.

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Dani Alves in action. Photo: AP
Dani Alves in action. Photo: AP

The approach comes amidst uncertainty over the future of Kyle Walker, who has been relegated to Tottenham’s bench for several recent fixtures. The England international is under contract until 2021, but could improve his terms by moving to another Premier League suitor. In principle, Dani’s ability to operate at both full back and right wing would allow him to be combined with Walker, he is more likely to arrive as a replacement.

Manchester City are among other clubs exploring the possibility of signing Dani with the idea of utilising him as an experienced hand should they manage to secure the transfer of a younger defender like Bayern Munich’s Joshua Kimmich. There are no questions over the Brazilian’s physical condition, he remains exceptionally quick and would require no adaptation to Pep Guardiola’s way of working.

According to sources close to the player, Dani would require assurances on playing time before leaving Juve. One of his key aims for the coming campaign is to represent his country at the 2018 World Cup Finals in Russia.