New Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez wants to the club to make a U-turn on Dani Alves and bring the 38-year-old back to the club for a second spell at the Camp Nou.
The Catalan giants had ruled out a move for the full-back, but Xavi wants Alves “for his project” and it is expected the club will “make it official as soon as possible,” according to Diario Sport’s Albert Roge.
Alves is currently a free agent after leaving Sao Paulo but it’s not clear yet when he could debut for a second time if he does secure a return to the Catalan giants after five years away.
Roge reports Xavi wants Alves for his first game in charge of Barcelona on November 20 against Espanyol. However, it could be that “Alves cannot start playing until 2022, from January 1.”
Yet Xavi still wants Alves incorporated quickly, even if he can’t play until January, so he can be “integrated into the dynamics of the dressing room” and “contribute his experience” to what is youthful Barcelona squad.
Alves is aware of the club’s financial problems and the need to comply with La Liga’s salary cap and will play “practically for free” for Barcelona, as reported by Javier Miguel at Diario AS.
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Why Does Xavi Want Alves Back?
Xavi obviously knows Alves very well having shared a dressing room for many years with the Brazilian and having won a host of trophies as part of phenomenally successful Barcelona team.
One of the main reasons for Xavi wanting Alves back is because “above all he values their competitive spirit,” as reported by Diario Sport. Xavi wants to increase the team’s “competitive level” in training and thinks Alves can be key to that change.
Xavi also believes the Brazil international can be a crucial factor in matches because he is “used to dealing with difficult situations” and can add some much-needed character and personality to his team.
Finally, the coach also wants more depth on the right side of the defense. Sergino Dest, Oscar Mingueza, and Sergi Roberto are all options but none of the players have made the right-back spot their own.
Indeed Roberto has been used more in midfield this season, while Dest has filled in for Jordi Alba at left-back and has also been used on the right wing due to injuries to Barcelona’s attackers.
Alves Can’t Wait To Return
The 38-year-old also seemed up for the challenge of trying to help Barcelona get back to the top of European football.
“It’s a challenge to put Barca back where they deserve. It’s an era of transition and difficulty and they have to make that clear,” he added. “Barca will return. It might be half a year. Three months. A year. But they will return because they always have. Those who love the club are ready to help in any way.”
Barcelona have struggled to find an adequate replacement for Alves, since he left for Juventus in 2016, but it now sees that Xavi’s return could open up the chance for the Brazilian to enjoy a second spell at the club.