After a long wait FC Barcelona have finally made official the signing of right-back Dani Alves from Sevilla. Alves, who can play on the right of defence or midfield, joined Sevilla from Bahia for less than one million euros in 2003 and was an outstanding player as they won back-to-back UEFA Cups in 2006 and 2007. Sevilla also won a Copa Del Rey, a European Super Cup and a Spanish Super Cup in his five-and-a-half seasons with the club.
Alves is Barca’s fourth new signing of the close season, after midfielder Seydou Keita and defenders Martin Caceres and Gerard Pique, as they look to reconstruct the side under new coach Pep Guardiola.
Barca coach Pep Guardiola believes Alves could form a devastating partnership down the right flank with Barca’s Argentine winger Lionel Messi. Speaking to reporters at the press conference to unveil Alves, he said: “They are the two best players on the right flank and if they play well we’ll have the best right side. He’s a player that needs space. I hope to get the most out of him and we hope he feels good here.” Video of the press conference is available from 101greatgoals.com
Leaving the Nou Camp is Deco who has been sold to English Premier League side Chelsea. No fee has been confirmed but £8m (10m Euros) is the price being mentioned by many sources including the BBC. Deco, who had a contract with Barca until 2010, is said to have penned a new two-year deal at Stamford Bridge. Deco becomes the Blues’ first signing since Portugal coach Luiz Felipe Scolari was appointed manager earlier this month.
Deco won two league championships with the Catalan giants, and was part of the team that beat Arsenal in the Champions League final in Paris in 2006. He was deemed expendable after a series of injuries hampered him during this past season. Where Deco will play in a side already packed with central midfielders like Frank Lampard, Michael Ballack, Michael Essien, Jon Mikel Obi and Claude Makelele is yet to be seen. The popular notion is that Deco’s arrival makes Lampard’s possible exit to Inter Milan even more likely. I’m not sold on that one. It’s possible Makelele will be moved on and Mikel Obi could be loaned out but beyond those two I don’t see anyone budging at the moment.
Meanwhile, UEFA Cup hopefuls Manchester City have made a big dive into the transfer market by signing CSKA Moscow forward Jo for a fee that is being reported as £18 million which would be a club record. Man City has admitted he was a club record signing but the exact figure has not been released. The Brazilian, unveiled yesterday by Manchester City, won two Russian Super Cups, the Russian Premier League and the Russian Cup with the Russian club.
Jo, full name Joao Alves de Assis Silva, is a tall (6ft 3in) skilful left-footed striker who joined several Brazilian compatriots at CSKA in 2006 when he moved from Corinthians. Jo, 21 years old, had scored 44 goals in 77 matches in all competitions for the Russian club before his transfer.
This was not a Mark Hughes signing as the Citizen’s pursuit of the Brazilian began before Sven-Goran Eriksson was sacked. Valencia and other clubs had competed for Jo’s signature but the presence of fellow Brazilian Elano likely aided City’s ability to sign him.
Mark Hughes also talked about the possibility of Jo’s compatriot Ronaldinho moving to Eastlands.
“Basically that’s a process that is ongoing,” Hughes told reporters at the press conference. “I don’t think the process has slowed or accelerated. He’s a huge world star and these things, if they are going to happen, are likely to take a bit of time. In the discussions he’s had with the club I think he’s been very positive about the idea of coming to the club.”