Should Diego Alves Be Manchester United's Anders Lindegaard Replacement?

Allan JiangTransfers CorrespondentAugust 15, 2014

VALENCIA, SPAIN - SEPTEMBER 22:  Diego Alves of Valencia CF reacts during the La Liga match between Valencia CF and Sevilla FC at Estadio Mestalla on September 22, 2013 in Valencia, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images

Manchester United goalkeeper Anders Lindegaard will leave the club, so should executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward and manager Louis van Gaal consider signing Valencia's Diego Alves?

As the backup to world-class goalkeeper David de Gea, Lindegaard's opportunities were limited, which is why his agent Michael Stensgaard has been seeking suitors for his client's services.

"We've had a very good dialogue with Manchester United and we talked about the prospect of [Anders] getting the chance to play," Stensgaard said, per Jamie Jackson at The Guardian. "Then in good co-operation we agreed that we would look into the opportunities [elsewhere]."

To cover the hypothetical scenario of United targeting Alves, here is a scouting report on the 29-year-old, 6'2", 183-pound Brazilian international. 


Alves Positives

If Lindegaard leaves United, it would vindicate club legend Peter Schmeichel's snap judgement.

"I don't believe it for a minute," Schmeichel said in 2010, per The Telegraph. "You want someone who can go in straight away and give performances in 80 percent of the games that the No. 1 choice goalkeeper will play for Manchester United."

Lindegaard played for Norwegian Tippeligaen club Aalesund prior to signing for United, so he lacked top-flight experience.

Meanwhile, in seven seasons, Alves played a combined 186 La Liga games for Almeria and Valencia.

Consistently coming to his team's rescue, Alves' longevity means he would be a safe investment for United. 

Alves possesses incredibly swift reflexes as evident when he stopped Malaga substitute Pablo Perez from scoring.

Scrambling across goal, Alves blocked then-Barcelona (now Arsenal) right-forward Alexis Sanchez's header.

Real Madrid's FIFA Ballon d'Or-winning left-forward Cristiano Ronaldo had his one-on-one shot denied by Alves.

What makes Alves special is being one of the pre-eminent penalty-saving experts in the world. 

"I study videos of penalty-takers and analyse where they prefer to place them and how they incline their bodies," Alves said, per FIFA. "The final few steps before they strike the ball are key."

Alves sussed out Ludogorets Razgrad centre-forward Roman Bezjak and easily rebuffed the Slovenian international's spot-kick. 

Psyching out then-Atletico Madrid (now Chelsea) centre-forward Diego Costa from 12 yards out, Alves enjoyed his moment of Schadenfreude.

Then-Sevilla (now Barcelona) central midfielder Ivan Rakitic was another victim of Alves' penalty-saving brilliance. 

Before you ask if Alves is a penalty-saving one-season wonder, he has been a thorn to penalty-takers for years.


Alves Negatives

Injuries stopped Alves from mounting a Keylor Navas-esque campaign.

March 25, 2014, per Tom Conn at Inside Spanish Football: "Goalkeeper Diego Alves suffered a torn hamstring against Villarreal and was forced to leave the match, being replaced by Vicente Guaita."

November 4, 2013, per UEFA: "Valencia CF keeper Diego Alves is out of contention to face FC St Gallen on Thursday after suffering a hamstring injury in the weekend Liga win away to Getafe CF."

Diego Alves' Valencia La Liga Appearances
SeasonGames PlayedGames Played %

Alves should be playing 90 percent or more of his games. 

His body repeatedly breaking down will accumulate and adversely affect his career.

Injuries were a pivot point in Fabien Barthez's career trending downwards. 

Then-United manager Sir Alex Ferguson's biggest concern regarding Barthez was the FIFA World Cup-winning goalkeeper's form being disrupted by injuries.

"Fabien has had one or two problems with injury," Ferguson said in 2002, per Dale Johnson at ESPN Soccernet (now ESPN FC). "But when he is fit, he is the best keeper in the world."

Barthez's inkling to smoke cigarettes and tendency to put his body on the line by "tackling like a fool," per Patrick Haond at Sky Sports, factored into the French international's hit-and-miss tenure at United. 


Bottom Line

Woodward has been talking the talk. 

"There is no budget. We are in a very strong financial position," Woodward said, per Rob Dawson at the Manchester Evening News. "We can make big signings."

Then go sign Alves, who may cost a premium having extended his Valencia contract to 2019, but he will be an insurance policy should the following hypothetical scenario happen: 

  • Lindegaard is warming the benches at Benfica.
  • De Gea suffers a long-term injury in a head-on collision with Swansea City centre-forward Bafetimbi Gomis. 
  • Can United rely on Ben Amos? If he is going to concede goals from 60 metres out, then no.

United must have an elite No. 2 especially when the goalkeeping stocks of Chelsea (Petr Cech and Thibaut Courtois) and Manchester City (Joe Hart and Willy Caballero) are strong. 

Lindegaard's impending exit from United gives Woodward the chance to sign a top goalkeeper like Alves. 



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