There is little question that Barcelona have struggled to replace Dani Alves since his departure for Juventus in 2016. Not only was the Brazilian so instrumental in so much of their remarkable run of success during those previous eight years, he had a fine understanding with Lionel Messi, who so often played in front of him, and, at full-back, excelled in a role that contributed so much to their admired style of play.
Barça’s attempts to find a successor extended to recruiting Nélson Semedo, who has since moved to the Premier League with Wolves, and sacrificing Sergi Roberto from the midfield role where he is perhaps at his best – until, that is, the arrival of Sergiño Dest from Ajax for a fee that could reach €26m. “I have no doubt that he will be a very useful player for Barça,” said their manager Ronald Koeman upon the 19 year old’s arrival. “He spent last season in Ajax’s first team, in the Champions League. That experience will help the player and also the US national team.”