Barcelona have been a consistently dominant force in Spanish and European football for many a season now, but they've become somewhat of an enigma in the last 12 months.
Even more so since former player Luis Enrique took to the Nou Camp hot seat, as it's proving difficult to tell just how well the new manager will settle with his new side.
He's certainly gone the right way about making his tenure a success, though, using the transfer window to lure big-name stars to Catalonia. And here, we take a look at the latest activity for the La Liga giants.
Atletico Madrid Set to Rival Barca for Marco Reus
Though Borussia Dortmund star Marco Reus owes much of his astounding progression to the Bundesliga outfit, his desire to depart Westfalenstadion is crystal clear.
As Bild reported in July, per David Kent of the Daily Mail, Reus refused to sign a new contract with Dortmund, putting him firmly on Barcelona's radar.
However, the Catalan giants will face competition in their quest to bring the German international to La Liga, with champions Atletico Madrid reportedly joining the hunt.
Though Barcelona will have Atletico to contend with for Reus, it seems that Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich aren't pursuing the talented 25-year-old—as his agent Dirk Hebel told Bild, via Sam Jordan of Squawka Football, "We had no contact with Bayern."
While Munich may well still be interested despite Hebel's statement, the chances of Dortmund selling another one of their prize assets to their rivals is nil, and it seems Barcelona are in pole position to sign the German.
AS's report states that Reus' €25 million price tag will put Atletico manager Diego Simeone and Co. off the sale, clearing the way for Barca to move in.
Where exactly the German fits into the club's midfield right now is hard to determine, but with the right guidance, he could be a more-than-capable replacement for Xavi in the heart of midfield.
It just seems like a matter of when Barcelona will land Reus more than anything else, but with his release clause reportedly decreasing to €20 million next summer—per Squawka—he may well be an acquisition next time around.
Dani Alves Staying?
Right-back Dani Alves looked for all the world as if he'd be heading for the Nou Camp exit door this summer, but it seems that his future will be in Catalonia.
Reports had emerged claiming that Barcelona had asked the Brazilian to leave the club, but director of football Andoni Zubizarreta has been quick to wave such allegations away—per Marca:
"Alves is under contract and we've never asked him to leave. We don't have any indications from his agent to suggest that anything is going to happen and we haven't received any offers for him. But this is football and things can change."
While Zubizarreta plays down talk of Alves leaving, the door still appears open on an exit, much of which could be down to the club's pursuit of Juan Cuadrado.
As Sport revealed via Twitter, Barca would ideally like to sign the Colombian to fill in at right-back, but the deal is a long way from being completed:
@IonutFCB9 ideally, Cuadrado. But lots of things still to sort out...— SPORT English (@Sport_EN) August 11, 2014
Though not a right-back by trade, Cuadrado would be deployed in the wing-back role by Enrique, and such is his class going forward that finding a place in the side would be difficult for Alves.
The 31-year-old's time in the famous red and blue shirt may not be up just yet, but you get the sense that it's only a matter of time, and if Cuadrado switches before September 1, we could see Alves head for the exit.