Dani Alves and Alex Sandro's departures to Man City and Chelsea, respectively, would only add to the blues at Juventus


It has been a quiet start to the 2017 transfer window for Juventus, the Old Lady perhaps relishing the lack of upheaval in comparison to previous summers. Indeed, over the past three years, she has watched Antonio Conte, Arturo Vidal, Carlos Tevez, Andrea Pirlo, Paul Pogba and Alvaro Morata all leave Turin, but finally seems to have found some stability.

Max Allegri recently agreed a new contract that ties him to the club until 2020 – although he is al-ready the longest-serving coach since Marcello Lippi departed back in 1998 – and the Livorno na-tive will be seeking to build upon his recent successes. Six consecutive Serie A titles is a new rec-ord in Italian football, but the Bianconeri were unquestionably stung by their heavy Champions League final defeat at the hands of Real Madrid.

The players, even established veterans like Gigi Buffon and Andrea Barzagli – men who have re-peatedly enjoyed the best and worst the sport can deliver – were visibly and emotionally hurt by that 4-1 loss. It is expected that Juve will spend the next few months looking to find the kind of talent needed to bridge the gulf between them and the continent’s very best sides, linked already with names like Douglas Costa and Marco Verratti.

Yet equally important will be ensuring that key figures in the squad do not continue to depart, mean-ing that rumours surrounding two of Allegri’s first-choice XI will undoubtedly cause concern among a fanbase that is desperate for European glory. The impact of Dani Alves and Alex Sandro throughout 2016/17 simply cannot be understated, and seeing the pair linked with moves to the Premier League is frankly the last thing the Bianconeri want to hear.

The Brazilian duo provided width, pace and incisive attacking prowess that the team otherwise so sorely lacks, while both were defensively diligent and alert. Yet to compare them to each other is somewhat reductive, each at vastly different stages of their careers and unquestionably gifted in unique ways.

Alves needs no introduction, the most decorated player in the history of Barcelona, moving on from Camp Nou after a spat with management. Even in the autumn of his career, the 34-year-old made a startling impact on and off the field at Juventus, weighing in with crucial performances just when his team-mates needed them most. He stunned AS Monaco in the Champions League semifinals, scoring once and assisting the other three goals in the Italian side’s 4-1 aggregate victory, also find-ing the net in the last-16 win over FC Porto.

It was exactly the reason director general Beppe Marotta worked to bring him in 12 months ago, the former Sevilla star fulfilling a request from club Captain Gigi Buffon shortly after his arrival. “I asked Dani Alves to help us, above all us older members of the team, to achieve the dream we are still chasing and help us push the bar a little higher,” the iconic goalkeeper told Sky Italia last August. “He is accustomed to certain targets and victories, so I think in that sense his experience can really help us.”

It did just that, so much so that former Barca boss Pep Guardiola is thought to be seeking a reunion with Alves at the Etihad Stadium. Multiple reports in England, Italy and Spain insist that Manchester City have already agreed personal terms with the player and entered negotiations with Juve over a possible €5.7 million deal.



However, the man himself was less than impressed when Mediaset Premium reported that he had received a goodbye video from Gonzalo Higuain. "Don't spread s**t, Higuain sent a video for me to a television programme,” Alves responded on Twitter. Don't do your job badly, please.” Whether the farewell was simply premature or if he will remain with Juve is not yet clear, but it has since emerged that the Bianconeri might even now be willing to terminate his contract and release him for free.

There has also been news of a rebuffed bid for Alves’ compatriot. “Chelsea made a very big offer for Alex Sandro,” Beppe Marotta admitted to the Corriere della Sera. “We said no, but today players are masters of their own destiny.”

Losing the 26-year-old, even for a huge fee, would be an even bigger blow than the potential depar-ture of Alves, as Sandro is now arguably the best left-back in the world. Over the last 18 months, he has matured in his on-field approach, learning the nuances of his role and how best to interpret matches.

He clearly benefitted from the presence of Patrice Evra, but the former Manchester United man moved on back in January, fully aware that his former apprentice had supplanted him as Allegri’s preferred option on the left flank. Able to play either as a wing-back or as part of an orthodox back four, Sandro provides everything the coach could ask from him and delivers in even the most test-ing of circumstances.



The ex-Porto and Santos defender averaged 2.3 tackles and 2.1 interceptions per game last term, looking assured and confident even when faced with an opponent like Lionel Messi. Indeed, Sandro shone in the Champions League clash with Barcelona, effectively neutralising the Argentinian su-perstar for the best part of 180 minutes.

Only Miralem Pjanić (60) and Paulo Dybala (58) laid on more goalscoring opportunities than Sandro this term (50), while his ability to beat an opponent was superb throughout the campaign. Juventus must do everything they can to retain his services moving forward and are reportedly working on improving his contract in order to keep such a vital player happy.

Chelsea supporters might hope that Sandro’s Champions League experience could help them when they return to the competition next season, but getting him to agree to a renewal and to reaffirm his commitment would be the kind of good news Juventus fans need as they seek to overcome their Cardiff-induced blues.

Alves and Sandro spent one season as team-mates and their paths became intertwined over a thrilling twelve months in Turin but, even in black and white, their stories – and their futures – are very, very different.