Manchester United are odds-on favourites to sign Jordi Alba from Barcelona.
Jose Mourinho is set to be given the funds to further bolster his United squad this summer to challenge on all fronts next year.
United have had troubles in the left-back position all season, with Mourinho publicly slating Luke Shaw last week by questioning his commitment, focus and ambition. And Mourinho has eyed Barcelona defender Alba as the man to fill United’s defensive woes.
It was reported yesterday that the Spain International had spoken with United and Chelsea players about the possibility of a move to the Premier League.
For quite some time now Alba has had niggling doubts about whether he will remain at Barca. He has the impression that the club has lost confidence in him and has contacted fellow players in the Premier League to find out the lie of the land at Chelsea and Manchester United, in case he finds himself on the transfer list this summer.
Alba has been left out of key games for Barcelona this season, including Champions League matches against Paris Saint-Germain and last night’s loss to Juventus.
And bookmakers Ladbrokes have United at evens to bring Alba to Old Trafford. Chelsea are next favourites at 5/2 while Arsenal are also in the hunt for a new left-back and are 4/1 to sign Alba.
Odds on Jordi Alba’s next club:
Manchester United: Evens
Real Madrid: 7/1
Manchester City: 8/1
Bayern Munich: 9/1
Atletico Madrid: 14/1
The left-back signed a 5-year contract extension, taking him to 2020 in 2015, but he has gradually been given a more low-key role within the side. Alba has featured in Luis Enrique’s squad list for two-thirds of Barcelona’s league games and made 16 starts.
While a knee injury and hamstring sprain kept him sidelined at the end of last year, Alba has been a victim of the coach’s favoured 3-4-3 set-up in recent weeks with Andres Iniesta preferred out wide on the left whenever the Blaugranas play without full-backs and either Jeremy Mathieu or Lucas Digne covering the left-sided central defensive position.
It must be said that Mathieu’s lack of pace has been exposed under this system – notably in the recent game against Granada, also against Juventus in the Catalans 3-0 defeat.
Alba has consulted a number of ex-team mates and colleagues to weigh up his options in the scenario that he is forced to abandon Barca.
Cesc Fabregas and Pedro Rodriguez have both received calls from the defender to glean information on Chelsea, and they are not the only ones. He has also been in touch with Manchester United’s Spanish players.
The player’s agents in Spain and the UK have been trying to calm the situation and persuade him not to be to jump the gun after five successful seasons at Barcelona.