Why should Manchester United not sign Jordi Alba in January
Alba, 29, was promised a new contract by Barcelona almost two years ago and as things stand now, the Catalan giants are yet to open contract talks with the player.
The Spaniard is contracted to Barcelona until the summer of 2020 but the La Liga club’s reluctance to open contract talks with the player could well see United explore the opportunity to sign Alba in January. But the question arises – do United need Alba in their squad?
Alba has established himself as one of the best left-backs in Europe and played a vital role in Barcelona’s title triumph last season. He had an impressive 2017/18 campaign, scoring three goals and providing 12 assists in 48 appearances across all competitions.
Alba’s recent snub from the Spanish national team has raised a lot of eyebrows but he remains Barcelona’s undisputed first-choice at left-back. An attacking full-back, the Spaniard is fast, inventive, agile and loves to maraud forward and make those traditional overlapping runs. Due to his energy, pace and equal defensive diligence, Alba can walk into any elite team’s starting XI.
There is arguably no club in the world who wouldn’t want to have a player like Alba in their squad. Not only is he a devastating left-back but also a serial winner, having won the European Championship with Spain in 2012 and 13 trophies at Barcelona.
As far as Manchester United are concerned, however, Alba isn’t exactly a player Mourinho would love to have in January. United had issues at the left-back spot last season, with Mourinho playing Ashley Young out of position for the majority of the campaign.
Luke Shaw was out of favour but he has made a sensational return to left-back spot this season, earning the manager’s trust regardless of the Red Devils’ poor start to the 2018/19 campaign.
Shaw, 23, has put in dazzling displays so far this term which has earned him a recall to the England squad by Gareth Southgate as well. The rebirth of Shaw as a player has eased the problems Mourinho faced last season at left-back.
Also, the Premier League giants signed youngster Diogo Dalot from FC Porto in the summer transfer window — the Portuguese who is a right-back but can also play at left-back if required.
Before the start of the 2018/19 season, United’s need for a full-back appeared to be a priority and Mourinho rightfully addressed it by signing Dalot. But Shaw’s emergence coupled with enough cover means the Red Devils are well stocked in the full-back department.
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Keeping that in mind, splashing top dollar on Alba in the winter transfer window doesn’t make any sense for Mourinho, even though the player is performing at the peak of his powers.