Barcelona technical director Robert Fernandez has confirmed Dani Alves will leave the Nou Camp as a free agent during the coming transfer window, but remained coy over the Catalans' alleged interest in replacing the Brazil international with Arsenal right-back Hector Bellerin. The club chief also suggested Marc Bartra and Douglas Pereira could be the next two out of the door, having previously confirmed the departure of Sandro Ramirez.
Last week, Sport broke the news that Alves had agreed a three-year deal to move Juventus, taking advantage of a break clause inserted in the two-year contract he signed last summer. Fernandez has now confirmed the departure of the Brazilian star, but refused to confirm La Vecchia Signora as his next destination.
"Dani Alves has decided to leave. It's a personal decision that we respect," Fernandez confirmed in a press conference on 2 June. "He renewed last season in special circumstances as we couldn't sign players [due to a Fifa transfer ban]. At that moment it was a logical, normal decision, he'd had a great season. He has always behaved exquisitely, but now he has decided to leave. It's a personal decision and nothing more – he's already communicated to us his decision to leave the club."
Reports suggest that Barcelona would try to lure Bellerin back to the Nou Camp to fill the gap left by Alves, an echo of the Cesc Fabregas saga, as the current Arsenal player also grew up in La Masia before moving to the Emirates Stadium side's academy.
Fernandez, however, refused to talk about the Spain international's return to Barcelona, suggesting Alves' position is already covered by Aleix Vidal and Sergi Roberto.
"I do not even consider [Bellerin's return] at this time. He is a player we know because he grew up here but at the moment I do not plan anything in this regard," he said. "We will think [about how to replace Alves] in no rush. Aleix Vidal was signed [last summer] with the understanding that Alves could go. When we signed Vidal he was in the national team after a fantastic season with Sevilla, and we also have Sergi Roberto [to cover the position]."
Another full-back expected to leave Barcelona is Douglas, after the Brazilian right-back made just eight appearances for Luis Enrique since his arrival at the club in summer 2014.
"I want Douglas to play. In case he doesn't have the chance to do so here we will find a solution. I said a few months ago that I wanted the player to have regular playing time because I think it's best for him and for the club," Fernandez admitted.
The Bartra situation is similar, following news that his release clause has been cut to only €8m due to a lack of playing time. The Spain international has already reportedly decided to leave, and Fernandez admits that is a major possibility, despite wanting him to stay. If he does decide to leave, Barcelona may want it to be on loan or with a buy-back option included as the club still have faith in his long-term future.
"I'm not at worried about Bartra's situation. It is true [that he wants to play more and has a €8m release clause] but we will try to find the best [solution for every party]. I do not want him to leave us, rather the opposite. He has fantastic conditions [to thrive at Barcelona]. We want him to play more but I will not let him go permanently," he said. "Let's see what Marc decides. I do not want him to leave, I've already said this. And if he goes I want him to continue to be linked to the club. He is an important player and I want him to succeed at Barca."
Javier Mascherano and Neymar's futures have also been under scrutiny, with the Argentine linked with a move to Juventus while the Brazilian is yet to sign a new deal. However, Fernandez said he has no doubts the duo will remain at the Nou Camp.
Speaking about Mascherano, he said: "It is very clear. We will reach an agreement. He's a vital player and I have no doubt he will continue here. Furthermore, he is under contract."
And when asked about reports linking Neymar with the likes of Real Madrid, he added: "Neymar will agree a new deal to stay at the club and will be here for many years. When? We will notify you."