Manchester City finally have a new right-back following the arrival of Kyle Walker, but with Dani Alves having snubbed a move to Manchester for the bright lights of Paris, that has left the club without an obvious second right-back.
So what is City’s plan? Use Fernandinho as a back-up option? Promote Pablo Maffeo? According to Duncan Castles in the Sunday Times, it is to continue the lavish spending spree by snapping up another expensive full-back, with City having made an approach for Real Madrid’s Brazil international Danilo.
Danilo was on Juventus’ radar, but they decided to use their one remaining non-EU spot on winger Douglas Costa, while Chelsea still hope to sign the 26-year-old. However, they now have fresh competition from Pep Guardiola’s City, who are relentlessly pursuing full-backs to solve a problem that some argue has existed for years now.
Castles reports that Danilo would cost a minimum of €25million (£21.9million), a figure that could rise significantly if City and Chelsea go to war for his signature. It would be a considerable investment after such an outlay on Kyle Walker and with at least one left-back soon to arrive – almost certain to be Benjamin Mendy in another deal that could touch £50million.
Guardiola has made it clear though, he wants a cohort of new full-backs after seeing Clichy, Zabaleta and Sagna – now all released by the club – struggle through last season. Guardiola said after the goalless draw against Manchester United in April, “We don’t have full-backs to go up and down, up and down, because all of them are 33, 34 years old, so I adapt with the quality of players.”
Danilo has been a figure of derision at Real Madrid since joining from FC Porto in 2015 for €31.5million. Rated at a similar quality to former teammate Alex Sandro back then, the Brazilian arrived at the Bernabéu with a good reputation, but struggled to impress and had many poor performances.
Madrid fans noted his improvement last season, as he took advantage of Dani Carvajal’s physical problems by getting a run in the team, and made 24 appearances in total for the Real Madrid side that won both La Liga and the Champions League.
And despite his difficulties in Madrid, Pep Guardiola, Antonio Conte and Max Allegri all see something in him to have shown considerable interest. For City, Pep’s craving for four fresh full-backs could create a bidding war with Chelsea, who it has been reported are close to finalising a deal for Danilo.
Walker and Danilo would cover the right-back area, with Benjamin Mendy set to arrive as Guardiola’s new left-back if City successfully conclude negotiations with Monaco. Pep’s insistence on four full-backs could see Southampton’s Ryan Bertrand follow, which would complete the much needed overhaul of the left and right-back areas.