Dani Alves' Barcelona Career in Doubt as Juan Cuadrado Chase Heats Up

Rik SharmaFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2014

Dani Alves is Barca stalwart.
Dani Alves is Barca stalwart.Israel l.Murillo/Associated Press

If Barcelona get Juan Guillermo Cuadrado, it could spell the end of Dani Alves' career in Catalonia. 

The Brazilian full-back is still a high-quality player, and if Barcelona end up with him at the end of the transfer window it would not be a disaster.

But at times last season it seemed as if he took matters into his own hands without paying enough regard to the actions of the team as a whole.

It was not uncommon to see Alves flying up the right and not putting enough effort in getting back to defend when needed.

Alves loves to get forward and join the attack.
Alves loves to get forward and join the attack.Israel l.Murillo/Associated Press

What's more, he launched in several wasteful crosses and shots from the right flank.

Whether he was told to do that by Tata Martino or just decided to himself is not known.

He was carefree when speaking after matches in the mixed zone, saying controversial things frequently.

Cuadrado is far more likely to listen to new manager Luis Enrique and is also a hungrier player, starved of success, unlike Alves.

The 26-year-old Colombian was an impressive performer at the World Cup, where he played on the right wing.

Juan Cuadrado is a Barcelona target.
Juan Cuadrado is a Barcelona target.Felipe Dana/Associated Press

Even though he would be expected to start at right-back for Barcelona, that is not too different for most games at the Camp Nou.

The Blaugrana are usually camped in the opposition's half, so Cuadrado could be useful in unlocking tough defences.

Then, if a more standard full-back is required for tough away trips, there is Martin Montoya.

He stalled under Martino, but Enrique will be hopeful of getting the defender to progress once more.

Barcelona sporting director Andoni Zubizarreta said on Monday, at the unveiling of Thomas Vermaelen, that at the moment there was no clear exit route for Dani Alves.

As per Sport, Zubizarreta told a press conference:

Alves has a contract with Barcelona. In no moment have have we spoke with him about leaving.

He is training with the team - it is as simple as that.

We don't have any information that makes us think things might happen [for Alves to leave].

However, this is football and things can change. We are working with him as with any other player in the squad, though, and his work since returning has been very good.

However, his words make it seem like if Barcelona can find somewhere for him to move, they will.

Alves wants to keep playing top-level football, and Barcelona are struggling to find a team that requires a right-back and can afford one of his calibre.

Zubizarreta did say that he was still trying to secure the best squad possible by the end of the transfer window, which is a hint at the chance of Cuadrado arriving.

Asked about Cuadrado he said, per Sport:

The clubs is very happy with what we have.

If we can improve the squad, we will do it.

We always work to have the best possible squad, for the manager to have the best possible options - we want the best squad on August 31.

Football is an uncertain world and the market is still open, but I will not name names.

The end for Alves?
The end for Alves?Siu Wu/Associated Press

Barcelona love players with versatility; the outfield players they have signed this season shows that.

Ivan Rakitic can play as a No. 10, a central midfielder, or even a creative pivot, while both Jeremy Mathieu and Thomas Vermaelen are comfortable on the left, with the latter even featuring in defensive midfield on infrequent occasions.

Cuadrado fits the bill on this front, and at 26 has many years ahead of him, while Alves is past his best.

Barcelona will be sad to see one of the key figures in their past successes leave, but Dani Alves may have reached the end of the line at the club.