Hindsight is a wonderful thing, but even without hindsight, signing Dani Alves over Jermaine Pennant, in 2006, would’ve seemed like the logical thing to do.
But not if you were Liverpool.
“We had the deal — finally, after enormous complications — tied up for Dani Alves and then the decision was should we buy two players or should we spend all of that on a full-back?
‘Alves was not the player then that he is now, but he always looked like he would be a great player.
‘Would he have been a better signing than [Jermaine] Pennant and [Peter] Crouch, for example? Probably yes, but it’s easy with hindsight.”
Rick Parry speaking to BBC Radio Merseyside
Ex-Liverpool Chief Executive Rick Parry has revealed that, two years prior to the Brazilian full-back moving to Barcelona and becoming the defining full-back of his generation, Alves was a Liverpool target, only they refused to meet Sevilla’s £8million asking price.
Rafael Benitez – manager at the time – prioritised the potential acquisition of Alves, but was overruled by the Anfield powers that be, who had qualms over spending a substantial portion of the club’s transfer budget 0n a full-back.
Interestingly, more than 10 years on from that summer, with managers and boardroom members having come and gone, Liverpool still seem to have issues with spending money on a full-back – although signing Paul Konchesky for almost £20million will scar a team.
James Milner as a makeshift left-back, to anyone else, has been a successful stop-gap but to the Reds and Klopp, it has become the long-term answer to ‘how can we keep Alberto Moreno away from the starting XI?’.
Whilst Alves is about to join Manchester City, meaning Liverpool lost their full-back for the next decade, in 2006, and got a footballer who once had to play with a prison tag around his ankle.