How Alisson became the most in-demand goalkeeper in the world
Alisson has caught the eye with a number of brilliant displays for Roma and Brazil, conceding just three goals in 11 appearances in World Cup qualifying.
Those displays are said to have alerted Liverpool and Real Madrid, with both clubs potentially eyeing a new goalkeeper in the summer.
Alisson has said he is flattered by the interest.
“Those links massage the ego, it cannot be denied,” he told Globoesporte. “People get satisfaction when you are being recognised by any club.”
The speculation caps a remarkable season for the goalkeeper, who only established himself as Roma’s No.1 this term.
— Alex McGovern (@AlexMcGovern11) March 18, 2018
Alisson initially made his name in his native Brazil with Internacional, breaking into the first team five years ago, where he was in the strange situation of competing with his older brother Muriel.
Former Brazil stopper Dida arrived the following season, but Alisson established himself between the sticks in 2015, making his international debut the same year, before signing a pre-contract agreement with Roma in 2016.
It has not been plain sailing since he joined Roma, however, and 2017-18 has in fact been his breakthrough season.
Last term Alisson played 15 times for the club in all competitions but failed to appear in Serie A, with former Arsenal stopper Wojciech Szczesny preferred as the club’s No.1.
This led Alisson to consider his future at the Stadio Olimpico amid plenty of calls in his home country for Manchester City’s Ederson to take over between the sticks for Brazil.
"Ederson is a good goalkeeper. He showed his quality with Benfica last season, and now with Man City. I'm working harder thanks to him. Our competition is for the good of Seleção fans. The national team is in safe hands for the next years." pic.twitter.com/tdKFS61D1Y
— Seleção Brasileira (@BrazilStat) March 16, 2018
However, with Szczesny moving on to Juventus in the summer upon the end of his loan deal in the capital, Alisson had an opportunity to establish himself as first choice, and he has done so in emphatic fashion.
“I don’t think many people have realised who Alisson is,” former Roma coach Roberto Negrisolo told Il Romanista. “This guy is a phenomenon. He is the number one of number ones.
“He is the Messi of goalkeepers, because he has the same mentality as Messi. He is a goalkeeper who can define an era.”
Any such deal for Alisson is likely to be complicated. Roma are determined to hold out for a big fee after feeling they lost Mo Salah to Liverpool on the cheap last summer.
Roma were resigned to losing Salah in order to comply with Financial Fair Play requirements, but the forward left for Anfield in a £36.9million just weeks before the transfers of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to PSG inflated the transfer market.
Salah’s remarkable form for Liverpool has only exacerbated Roma’s feeling that they missed out on what should have been a bigger transfer fee.
With the best save success rate in Serie A this season, it's little wonder Liverpool are still willing to spend big on Alisson, but they'll face stiff competition…
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) March 18, 2018
Reports regarding Liverpool’s interest have been conflicting over the past month.
The Times have suggested Roma’s insistence on making up what they lost out on Salah has deterred the Reds, while Goal reported that Liverpool pulled the plug on a potential €70million transfer as Jurgen Klopp has chosen to instead put his faith in Loris Karius.
However, since those stories have been published, Sky Sports have claimed Liverpool have held preliminary talks with Roma via an Italian intermediary.
Real Madrid, meanwhile, remain on the lookout for a replacement for Keylor Navas. Manchester United’s David De Gea has been a long-term target, while Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois has also been considered, but Alisson’s form this season has propelled him into contention.
Whether he moves this summer or not, expect to hear a lot more of the name Alisson Becker.