Will Walker succeed at Man City? Would Alves have been better?

Dani Alves has signed for Paris Saint-Germain on a two-year deal – news that has allegedly dismayed Pep Guardiola, who had made the Brazil full-back his main target for Manchester City’s right-back position and had an agreement in principle with the 34-year-old. [Guardian]

City have turned instead to Spurs’ Kyle Walker – another chief target – and it looks like the deal will go through. We discuss the pros and cons of the situation, below. Let us know your thoughts in the comments.

Alves choosing PSG over City – thoughts?

Alex: There were some rumors that Alves’ wife had a part to play in it which is entirely fair given the choice of living in Manchester or Paris. On the footballing side, perhaps Alves felt he’d start more games at PSG, perhaps he wanted an easier shot at a title. Perhaps also – at his age, he doubted his ability to cope with the Premier League physically. He’s said for a long time that he’d like to play in England. This summer he had that option and he decided against it.

Rishay: It is a bit strange, but perhaps he feels that PSG are a better team for him in terms of a sustained title challenge as well as a chance at winning a CL. Perhaps Alves is looking for a new challenge, as opposed to Guardiola’s systematic method of playing as well.

Bernie: At his age I think Dani Alves has made the right decision. The Premier League is a roller coaster and after proving himself at Barca and Juve he should win easy titles (now that Monaco have sold everyone) and have fun in Paris. Manchester isn’t that nice, trust me.

Mo: I agree with Alex. I believe he has mentioned that his transfer to Juventus was a bit selfish in the sense that he had no friends there, his wife didn’t enjoy Turin etc., and that this decision to join PSG was one made less for footballing reasons and more for family and social ones. Alves certainly has a case for being the best right back ever, and I would have loved to see him in the Premier League.

City will reportedly pay 55m for Kyle Walker instead. Could they do better or is he that guy?

Mo: I’ve never thought that highly of Walker. He’s a good player when on form but can be very patchy. A great attacking output but very average in defense. In terms of better options, unfortunately there aren’t many, if any.  The game is currently missing world class right backs and we know City don’t do youth very well. Walker is probably the best available option especially if Pep plays with wing backs. I just wish it was better value for money. At 55 million, its a stretch.

Alex: Yes, 55 million is a lot but unfortunately it isn’t what it once was. Walker has had a phenomenal couple of seasons, he’s in his prime, there’s no adaptation period needed, and City always need British players for the quota. He’s Brexit-safe. On all those levels he’s an excellent signing. My only concern is that before Pochettino, Walker was a superb athlete with a rubbish footballing brain. Poch has turned him into one of the world’s best fullbacks, and I wonder what will happen to Walker once he doesn’t have that influence there. Can Pep manage the same trick?

Rishay: Getting a starter from your title rivals (and Tottenham are definitely pushing for the title) could be a very strategic move. There are other replacements, like Serge Aurier, but under Guardiola, its not certain that Aurier with his disciplinary record would succeed. I’d also like to point out that nobody should be spending 55 million on a right back!

Bernie: Walker lost his place at Tottenham, that would be a concern for me. The market is crazy so transfer fees don’t make sense. However, is he 35 million better than Serge Aurier who Alves replaces at PSG? No. As Rishay said, go in for Aurier instead.

Would Alves had been a better signing had they managed it? 

Rishay: It would have been a phenomenal signing with his experience and capabilities, however Alves is also not getting any younger. Guardiola needs to build a long term solution for City’s defense as opposed to collecting short term mercenaries.

Bernie: Yes because he’s levels above at decision making on the pitch. He brings a wealth of European experience that City could use to navigate the Champions League. However, he wouldn’t stay longer than a year which would be a concern for any top club.

Alex: No. Not at 34/35 with the physical demands of the league.

Mo: I think the Premier League level is blown out of proportion at times. Alves is still, at his age, the best RB in the world. He would have coped fine and is an extremely smart player. He’s a better short term option, on a free, but Walker the definite preferred long term one.

Where would you rank Walker and Mendy (assuming) among the league’s wing/full back pairings?

Alex: If both can reproduce the form of last season, they’ll be the best pair going forward. I expect Rose and Trippier/whoever Spurs replace Walker with will still be the best all-round, though, as Spurs are a much better defensive unit than City.

Mo: Agree with Alex, it all comes down to form. Assuming last year’s, then they will be up there with the best going forward. I still think Chelsea’s will trump with Moses and possibly Alex Sandro as rumored.

Bernie: Mendy had a good season at Monaco but we have no idea how he will transition to the Premier League. Walker has been among the best right backs in the league but suffered a dip in form. Rose and Trippier is still a better pairing. Chelsea have a better pairing any way you tinker with their options. One thing is clear, this pairing would be better than what they had last year and that’s the important part.

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