New Barcelona boss Luis Enrique’s fresh view as to how the Catalan giants should set up defensively has led to rumours that full-back pair Dani Alves and Jordi Alba will jump the Camp Nou ship for Premier League waters sooner or later.
Whispers have been gaining volume for some time surrounding Alves’ future under Enrique, with many football watchers surprised that the Brazilian survived the former midfield favourite’s first summer back at Barca.
Paris Saint-Germain was Alves’ expected destination prior to the transfer window’s close, but the 31-year-old was quoted on a Brazilian radio station recently, stating:
‘This will be my last season at Barcelona. Next year I will move to England.’
Naturally, the top flight’s more illustrious outfits, including Manchester United and Arsenal, have been credited with an interest in the decorated former Sevilla man, but with conflicting reports suggesting Barca will offer Alves a new contract, his departure seems far from certain.
Alves has started all but two of his side’s seven La Liga matches so far this term, finishing on the winning team each time, and was also in from the off for both of their Champions League group fixtures last month.
However, one man whose Blaugrana goose looks well and truly cooked is Spain left-back Jordi Alba, who is also a reported target for both the Gunners and the Red Devils.
Alba has been in and out of the Barcelona team, and even Enrique’s squad, since the start of term and suffered the ultimate indignity of being left on the bench while centre-half Jeremy Mathieu filled in at left-back last time out away to Rayo Vallecano.
The visitors posted a clean sheet in a 2-0 win over the Madrid minnows, which suggests Alba’s route back into the first-team picture could be a long slog and will add fuel to the rumour pyre.
Barcelona are currently priced at 5/1 to win the Champions League for the first time since 2010/11 next May.
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