Chelsea Must Resist a Move for Barcelona's Ageing Dani Alves

Garry HayesFeatured ColumnistMarch 7, 2014

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Daniel Alves of Barcelona celebrates scoring his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium on February 18, 2014 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)
Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images

Barcelona have never been in the business of allowing their best players to leave on a whim, so it's fanciful to suggest they're going to start now.

Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule—namely Luis Figo swapping the Nou Camp for Real Madrid all those years ago—but more often than not, players depart Catalonia when it suits the Barca top brass. Rarely is it the other way around.

That's why The Express' Ben Jefferson linking Dani Alves with a potential move to Chelsea should fill Blues supporters with an air of dread.

The Brazilian has been among the star attractions at his position for the best part of a decade, but now on the wrong side of 30, Barca's apparent desire to cash in on his services suggests a player who is no longer at the peak of his powers.

It's the natural way of things in football, isn't it? Every player reaches his sell-by date, reminding us they are mere mortals after all. It happens to the best of them.

Jose Mourinho and Chelsea need to ask themselves a serious question about Alves: What would signing him say about their club?

Forgetting their current squad requirements, Chelsea shouldn't be living off another team's castoffs, which is what Alves will be should Barca decide to sell.

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18:  Daniel Alves of Barcelona scores his team's second goal during the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg match between Manchester City and Barcelona at the Etihad Stadium on February 18, 2014 in Manchester, Englan
Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

It's not quite befitting a club that prides itself as being among European football's elite.

Chelsea have been on Alves' trail in the past, as Goal.com suggested in March 2010 that the Brazilian was a transfer target.

Barcelona did enough to keep their man back then, although now that he is ageing, they appear to have adopted a different tone.

We've seen it happen before to Chelsea, the transfer of Andriy Shevchenko being the highest-profile case.

Despite Roman Abramovich's eagerness to bring Shevchenko to Stamford Bridge, AC Milan sold their former striker when it suited them. When it did, Chelsea eventually signed a dud—a £30 million dud at that.

LONDON, ENGLAND - APRIL 18: Ramires of Chelsea is challenged by Daniel Alves of Barcelona during the UEFA Champions League Semi Final first leg match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge on April 18, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Michael
Michael Regan/Getty Images

Shevchenko was past his best and therefore surplus at the San Siro. He was available to the highest bidder, which proved to be Chelsea.

It was a similar scenario with Deco, who arrived in West London from Barcelona in 2008. Save for an impressive debut against Portsmouth, it soon became clear Chelsea hadn't signed the player who had wooed football crowds during his peak years.

It was a different Deco and one who struggled to adapt to the English game. Much like Alves now, the ex-Barca midfielder didn't have time on his side either.

Deco wasn't signed with the future in mind, it was about an instant return. Only he was no longer able to give that. He was trading on past glories, but at the Nou Camp, past glories meant very little.

SUNDERLAND, ENGLAND - AUGUST 18:  Andriy Shevchenko of Chelsea replaces team mate Deco during the Barclays Premier League match between Sunderland and Chelsea at the Stadium of Light on August 18, 2009 in Manchester, England.  (Photo by Michael Regan/Gett
Michael Regan/Getty Images

That's how it should be at Chelsea. If the club is going to trade on its elite appeal, it needs players at their peak or players who will at least reach those levels while playing in the club's colors.

Capturing future stars Eden Hazard, Oscar and others in recent years, the Blues have made all the right moves in that regard.

The club has targeted players of a certain ilk to maintain its success, but also propel it onto the same level as those it has tried to emulate since Abramovich's takeover.

Signing Alves would be a step back. it would be a return to those dark days of Shevchenko and Deco.

 

Garry Hayes is Bleacher Report's lead Chelsea correspondent and will be following the club from a London base throughout the 2013-14 season. Follow him on Twitter @garryhayes.