Barcelona’s defensive crisis is set to deepen, with Jordi Alba reportedly emerging as a summer target for Chelsea and Manchester United.
According to Spanish publication Sport, Jordi Alba could be set for the exit door at Barcelona and there is no dearth of suitors. The report iterates that Chelsea and Manchester United are both interested in luring the Spaniard over to the Premier League.
Jordi Alba has been one of the pillars of Barcelona’s success in the recent seasons and the trend continued in the 2017-18 campaign, with the left-back finishing the season with league-high assists (8) for a defender. Alba’s box-to-box ability on the left flank allowed the likes of Andres Iniesta and Philippe Coutinho to cut in and overload the central midfield.
But, with Alba’s contract up for expiry in the summer of 2020, there have been no talks of a renewal from Barcelona’s end, despite the club touching on the topic more than a year ago. Alba loves Barcelona and intends to finish his career at the club, but the lack of initiative shown by the club might compel him to listen to offers, especially with Chelsea and Manchester United offering a chance of proving his skills in a new league.
At Chelsea, Marcos Alonso has done a commendable job, but backup option Emerson Palmieri has failed to establish himself as a contender for the former. Despite the more than decent shifts put in by Alonso, Alba will clearly be a step up, backed by the fact that the Barcelona man was chosen ahead of Alonso by Julen Lopetegui for the World Cup.
Manchester United are dealing with a different problem. The Red Devils have, in Luke Shaw, a player known to have the potential of being a top quality left-back, but one who is yet to live up to the standards of Manchester United and Jose Mourinho. This has seen the manager deploy Ashley Young in a withdrawn role.
And while the veteran has revelled in the role, a more natural option is needed at the Portuguese’s disposal. Alba could be just the man Mourinho needs at Old Trafford, with the Spaniard’s ability to run up and down the pitch with relative ease.
One more thing that Alba’s arrival will likely do at Manchester United is improve the squad’s crossing prowess, with the Spaniard an expert ball provider, evidenced by his statistics from the current campaign with Barcelona.
All in all, a move away from Barcelona is Alba’s last resort. The Spaniard will be hoping the club tables a renewal offer soon and Chelsea or Manchester United could be a potential destination only if the player sees no progress towards an extension of his current contract.