With newspapers in Italy claiming Roma are nearing a pre-contract agreement with Glen Johnson that would see the current Liverpool right back heading to Italy on a free this summer, reports out of Spain say a veteran replacement could be secured just as quickly. At least if you believe Catalan paper Sport, who are claiming a deal to bring Dani Alves to Anfield is nearly done.
Like Johnson, the 31-year-old Alves has seen his form suffer in recent seasons, and though some still list him as amongst the game’s best fullbacks, that’s largely due to things that he hasn’t done especially well in years. He’s also, like Johnson, available on a free this summer and can be signed to a pre-contract by any club outside of the country he’s playing in, which means Liverpool could announce his signing tomorrow.
That is, of course, if there’s actually any interest. Barcelona FC’s paper of record seems to think so—to think it’s more than just interest and a deal is in the works—but replacing Johnson with a player who’s a year older and whose decline in recent seasons has seemed a mirror to his would seem a lateral move at best. Chances are, too, that like Johnson he’s a player who wouldn’t be interested in taking a pay cut.
It’s undeniable that Alves brings a bit of marquee value as a star name, but while he’s achieved far more in his career, it’s hard not to remember back to Liverpool’s last supposed marquee free signing—a player who came in with a reputation his play hadn’t lived up to in years and was on a reported £100k a week. That player was Joe Cole, and the outsized expectations that would greet the signing of Alves seem nearly as likely to lead to similar levels of disappointment.
Even if Alves isn’t signed, though, it appears the Spanish papers believe Liverpool have a type when it comes to replacements for Glen Johnson. Just down the road in Madrid, Marca have once again been speculating that Liverpool could move for 32-year-old ex-Red Alvaro Arbeloa to replace the departing Johnson.