Look at the Barca squad list and one can discern three established right backs.. Dani Alves, Martin Montoya and Douglas. Add to the mix Adriano Correia and that becomes four. So far no issues, four players for one position is an excellent situation to be in but scratch the surface and one realizes that its not the case.
1. Dani Alves: In his prime, Dani Alves was one of the finest exponents of the right back role in the modern game. However, recently the 31 year old has seen his form dip over the past one year and questions about his place in the team have cropped up alarmingly often. There’s no doubt about it, though he still boasts of a fine engine and covers as much ground as anyone else, he is no longer the player he once was. His defensive position has been suspect throughout and his wing has often been brutally exposed in big matches. What hasn’t helped matters is the inability of crosses to find their target and his instinct to pump forward on every occasion. Even then, he remains by far, the clubs best right back but there are serious question marks hanging over his future with his contract ending this season. The Barca board hasn’t yet offered him a new deal and Alves has openly stated his desire to play in Barclays Premier League.
2. Adraino Correa: The left footed but supremely ambidextrous left winger converted-left back converted centre back converted right back seems to be Barca’s second choice rb. While he has unflinchingly and uncomplainingly filled quite a few gaps in the Barca team sheet in the past seasons, the 30 year old is no youth prospect and he isn’t someone whose name Cules would be happy to see on the team sheet too often. Also add to that, the fact that he is extremely injury prone (in fact, he is injured now) and it becomes obvious that he may not even be a quick fix solution.
3. Douglas: Next on the list, is Barca’s flabbergasting summer buy- the 24 year old Douglas from Santos. Bought after Barca gave up on Cuadrado, his transfer has unfairly become the butt of many jokes amongst the fans. At 24, he doesn’t really have too much time to improve tremendously and his two first team appearances have been underwhelming with him looking badly out of depth in both.
4. Martin Montoya: Perhaps the most perplexing is the case of 23 year old Martin Montoya. A La Masia academy graduate who played under Luis Enrique at Barca B, he was touted to have a bright future ahead of him. He started the season with a 5 year contract extension and renewed hope that he would be a first team regular when the Dani Alves era ends. It certainly has been a downward spiral for him from then on as he seems to be completely out of favour with Luis Enrique as exemplified by Enrique starting Adriano and even Douglas ahead of him in La Liga and Copa Del Rey. He has clearly stated his intention to leave the club if possible in the January window, not a very difficult proposition considering his €16.5 million release clause and the long list of clubs eyeing him.
Not to be forgotten is the fact that Barcelona have a transfer ban looming ahead of them and losing Dani Alves ( something that many fans desire, considering Alves’ poor recent form) would leave them with with bigger issues. This isn’t just a crack that the board can paper over, it’s a big gaping hole and unless the board pull a rabbit out of the hat this January, it could haunt Barca for quite some time.