Follow It's Round and It's White on Facebook

Dani Alves offers perfect Premier League tester

Thursday 29th June 2017
Dani Alves is considered one of the best full-backs of the past decade. I, however, have always criticised his defensive ability and lack of physical stature. With a move to the Premier League highly probable after announcing his exit from Juventus, Alves' first season in England will provide the perfect test of continental defenders and how they handle the English game.


For many years, the English media has had an undoubted bias towards the Premier League's apparent superiority. Its greater coverage, higher intensity of play, and the conflation that speed, power and athleticism equal quality, have fueled an assumption that it is automatically better.

As English clubs' recent Champions League struggles have displayed, though, that is clearly not the case. In fact, when considering the upper echelon teams in each respective division, the Premier League is far worse than Spain, Italy, Germany and, it could be argued, France. The influx of continental attackers who have proceeded to dominate--Kevin de Bruyne, Alexis Sanchez, Sergio Aguero, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Dimitri Payet--only further entrench the counterpoint domestic English football is not as strong as many would have you believe.

However, there must be an acute, accurate definition of the argument here. If one is stating the Premier League has a higher 'quality', then that is, evidently, a mistaken remark. However, if one is referring to the league's 'competitiveness', its depth, with talented clubs reaching down to its lower reaches, the requisite potential for upsets, then the Premier League is far and away the most accomplished in Europe.

Now, it is likely we will get the ideal litmus test for such resilience and robustness. Dani Alves comes to these shores for the first time in his illustrious career. There are few players who have played in such quality sides as Alves, won the trophies he has won, and performed at such a consistently high level for so long. However, the Brazilian, after leaving Juventus this summer, is expected to join Manchester City, (or maybe Chelsea) reconvening with former coach Pep Guardiola.
I have always been an Alves critic. While he is a wonderful attacking talent, with great pace and end-product, he is poor defensively. He lacks the needed size and strength to deal with crosses from the opposite wing. His positioning is naive and unaware. He can be exposed by savvy wingers. The man simply isn't very good at tackling, often diving in when it is utterly unnecessary or contorting into an awkward, off-balance position, such that he is unable to then turn sharply when the ball is knocked past him.

However, it is difficult to argue with his pedigree and reputation. That is why his potential move to the Premier League is so intriguing.

Firstly, he will test the league itself. Can a continentally successful player come to these shores for the first time in his career and excel, even when dealing with an intensely physical style to which his body is ill suited? Can he adapt to a strange footballing culture, unlike anywhere else in the world? Or will he prove the league's alleged superiorities to simply be part of the media frenzy that engulfs it?

Secondly, he must prove he is as good as his reputation states, that he has not been elevated by the teams that he has played in and the flashy, vibrant, expansive style opponents have previously allowed him to play.

Only time will answer either question. Still, it remains certain that combining Dani Alves and the Premier League is the perfect tester for both player and league.
Andrew Dowdeswell

A sport obsessed 20 something who just really wants Arsenal to finally win the league. Please Wenger, what the hell happened to you?!

Total articles: 175

Latest Opinion Articles