Five reasons why Daniel Alves would be a great signing for United

Dani Alves

As Daniel Alves is linked with a move to Manchester United, here are five reasons why the Barcelona defender would be a fantastic signing for the club.

According to the Daily ExpressLouis Van Gaal is ready to lure Barcelona wing-back Dani Alves to the Premier League on a short-term deal for the 2015/2016 season.

The Brazil international is out of contract at the end of the season, and it appears new boss Luis Enrique does not plan on extending his stay with the Catalan giants. 

The 31-year-old's future has been cast into doubt following the club's high-octane summer transfer window. Barca were reportedly keen sign Fiorentina's Juan Cuadrado, but eventually settled with the £4.5 million addition of Sao Paulo's Douglas.

With the Brazilian and 23-year-old Martin Montoya contesting with Alves for his favoured right-back position, the veteran's place in Enrique's starting XI is under threat.

Unless Alves is offered a contract extension in the near future, his six-year stay at the Nou Camp could draw to a swift end. However, if this turns out to be the case, he could be an extremely useful addition to Louis Van Gaal's current Manchester United side. 

A stats comparison between the Brazilian and the Dutchman's current right wing-back options draws the following conclusions, and based on the figures, it's clear to see his addition would represent a significant upgrade.

  AppsMinsTotal Chances CreatedChances Created per 90Assists
Antonio Valencia 29 1,940 27 0.93 3
Phil Jones 26 2,174 15 0.58 2
Chris Smalling 25 1,938 11 0.44 0
Rafael 19 1,418 17 0.89 1
Dani Alves 27 2,385 38 1.41 3

Chance creation - Louis Van Gaal's 3-5-2 system requires an athletic player, capable of operating effectively in both halves of the bitch. Alves dominated the right flank single handedly at times for Barca last term, helping to bring the best out of Lionel Messi with his one-two passing and overlapping lay-offs. He created more chances than any (38) current United player, averaging 1.43 key passes per 90 minutes. 

  Total Tackles WonTackles Won per 90
Jones 44 1.69
Rafael 37 1.95
Valencia 36 1.24
Smalling 30 1.20
Alves 64 2.37

Tackling prowess - Nonetheless, his ability to defend was also clear to see, and he offered tremendous support to the Catalan's back four, in spite of his exploits in the attacking third. He won more tackles than any Manchester United right-back per 90 minutes, challenging and successfully retrieving possession on 64 occasions throughout the season.

  Total Dribbles WonDribbles Won per 90Fouls Suffered
Valencia 28 0.97 23
Rafael 19 1.00 24
Smalling 14 0.56 15
Jones 8 0.31 26
Alves 33 1.22 48

Dribbling ability - With his his bursting runs down the right flank, Alves has caused tremendous problems for even the most adapt sides during his career in La Liga. His positive attitude when it comes to taking the game to the opposition would certainly benefit the current Manchester United side. As the figures show, he completed more dribbles than Van Gaal's current crop of right-sided full-backs, whilst drawing considerably more fouls.

  Total Accurate PassesAccurate Passes per 90Pass Completion Rate (%)
Jones 951 36.58 88
Valencia 899 31.00 85
Smalling 816 32.64 83
Rafael 525 27.63 79
Alves 1604 59.41 87

Passing accuracy - Playing in Barca's Tiki-Taka system, Alves recorded a higher pass completion rate than everyone, but Antonio Valencia. Having said this, he attempted a far greater number of passes than the Ecuador international. With Van Gaal's possession-based system stemming around the passing, movement, and perhaps most importantly, the intelligence of its operators, Alves certainly fits the bill.

  Shots per 90GoalsShot Accuracy (%)
Rafael 0.37 0 28.57
Jones 0.46 1 33.33
Smalling 0.52 1 23.08
Valencia 0.55 2 37.50
Alves 1.19 2 33.00

Eye for goal - The 31-year-old is by no means shy in front of goal. He registered 32 attempts in the league last season, 33% of which were accurate. The majority of these strikes came from outside the area, which suggests his willingness to impact the final result. However, it must be noted that the two goals he did manage to score came from inside the 18-yard-box. 

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