Dani Alves looks more likely than ever to be heading out of the Camp Nou exit door this summer, after he rejected Barcelona's latest contract offer.
It is believed that the offer of a three-year extension was conditional on the Brazilian playing in more than 60 percent of Barca's games each season, but seemingly the terms haven't satisfied Alves or his representative.
Per Paul Hirst of the Press Association, via the Daily Mail, Alves agent Dinorah Santa Ana noted: "The negotiations are over. If they say this is the final offer, then they (negotiations) are over.
Article continues below
"It doesn't make sense. It's very hard that we get to April and Barcelona haven't thought about renewing Dani's contract. Dani is sad."
It does seem very short-sighted on the face of it for the Catalans to allow the situation to fester until just a few weeks short of the end of the season.
Article continues below
Montoya no Alves
With the greatest of respect to Martin Montoya, he isn't in the class of Alves.
Perhaps you could judge that he is in fact a better defensive player, but Barcelona clearly like their wing-backs to be more attack minded, and in this regard Alves is peerless.
There has simply been no one better to fit the system that Barcelona wanted to play over the last few seasons.
And then there is Douglas of course. The poor Brazilian must be wondering what on earth he has done wrong.
Signed from Sao Paulo last summer, Douglas talked of his pride at being asked to represent one of the greatest football clubs in the world.
Yet since that day he has featured for just 73 minutes against Malaga in La Liga back in September, and for only 28 minutes against Elche in the Copa del Rey tie back in January.
Bear in mind that this is a new signing, who hasn't been injured and has had no difficulties in settling in to new surroundings.
Barcelona's board have made some odd decisions just recently, but Douglas' signature must rank as one of the more bizarre.
Which brings us neatly back to Alves.
How on earth can Barca be contemplating losing their first choice right-back in mid-April? Was it their own, juvenile version of brinkmanship? If they had wanted to sign cover because of the impending transfer embargo, they had the perfect opportunity to purchase well last summer.
It would've allowed an overlap and a seamless transition comes seasons end. Now we will be left with an almighty legal scramble as the Catalans seek to extricate themselves for something they perceive as unjust.
Dragging his heels
In any event, is Alves wrong to reject the contract?
It is believed that he wanted a three-year deal. He has a three-year deal. He wanted a raise. he has a raise.
The only stipulation is the amount of games required to be played to satisfy the club.
If Alves really wanted to sign on elsewhere, and was always going to reject Barcelona at the end of the day, why not sort matters at the earliest possible opportunity instead of dragging his heels too?
It's a fairly unseemly episode for both player and club and doesn't leave either in a particularly positive light.