With each passing day, the chances of Dani Alves leaving Barcelona on a free transfer this summer increase that little bit more.
Barcelona have inexplicably opted against offering Alves a new contract - as things stand - and the Brazilian appears resigned to the fact he will leave the Camp Nou as a free agent at the end of the season.
Alves has proved in recent weeks that, even at 31 years of age, he is far from finished. This is a vastly-experienced and talented footballer who still has plenty to offer Barcelona despite his advancing years.
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Barcelona banned from registering new players
That Barcelona aren't desperately negotiating with his agent, Dinorah Santana, is baffling for a couple of reasons.
First of all, Barcelona are unable to sign a replacement until January - well, technically they can, but they're prohibited from registering them until the New Year.
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Montoya and Douglas not good enough
This means that from August until 1 January 2016, Barcelona manager Luis Enrique will have two substandard right-backs at his disposal: the unconvincing Martin Montoya and the dismal Douglas.
Brazilian journalists were flabbergasted when it was confirmed that Barcelona had purchased former Brazil Under-20 international Douglas from Sao Paulo last summer - and it's no exaggeration to suggest the 24-year-old has looked out of his depth at the Camp Nou.
Barcelona supporters have only seen Douglas in one La Liga match, against Malaga in September, and he struggled. Boy did he struggle.
Montoya has only made five more league appearances than Douglas this season - there are doubts over whether the 23-year-old possesses the world-class ability required to play for Barcelona - while Alves has played 21 times in La Liga for the Catalan giants under Enrique.
Will Enrique be content heading into the Champions League group stages and the first Clasico of the 2015-16 campaign with Montoya and Alves as his only right-back options? Not a chance.
Alves remains an important player for Barcelona
And that sentiment will be shared by the Barcelona players, many of whom have an excellent relationship with the charismatic Alves, both on and off the pitch.
One of those players is, of course, Lionel Messi. It was revealed in September that no Barcelona player has provided more assists for the four-time Ballon d'Or winner than Alves, who had contributed 37 of the 359 goals Messi had scored at the time of writing.
These are stats you'd usually see from a first-class No. 10, but this figure has been registered by a right-back - and no ordinary right-back at that.
It was also Alves' inch-perfect long pass to Luis Suarez which resulted in Barcelona's winning goal against Real Madrid eight days ago.
United or PSG could capitalise on Barcelona's mistake
That the likes of Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly queuing up to secure Alves on a free transfer should scream out to Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu that this is a player worth keeping at the Camp Nou.
He might want large wages and the security of a two or three-year deal, but it will be worth it in the long run.
Alves is still one of the world's best right-backs and, more importantly, he is perfect for Barcelona.
Letting him leave the club on a free transfer would undoubtedly be the club's biggest mistake of 2015.
Barcelona fans: do you want Dani Alves to stay at the Camp Nou? Have your say in the comments below!
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