Head coach Paulo Fonseca is hopeful that Shakhtar Donetsk can retain the services of long-serving captain Darijo Srna. The experienced former Croatia stalwart, who announced his retirement from international football in August after amassing 134 senior caps, has made over 500 appearances and won eight domestic titles during a 13-year stint in Ukraine but has recently been linked with a move to Barcelona.
With Aleix Vidal failing to establish himself as a reliable backup to Sergi Roberto before impressive recent appearances against Hercules and Borussia Monchengladbach that led manager Luis Enrique to label the previously exiled Spaniard as "spectacular", the reigning La Liga champions were expected to be on the hunt for a new right-back when the transfer window re-opens for business next month.
According to recent reports from AS, 34-year-old Srna had emerged as the priority January target. This is after a fractured fibula sustained by former Barcelona favourite Dani Alves during a shock 3-1 Serie A defeat to Genoa seemingly put paid to any hopes of convincing Juventus to part company with Stephan Lichtsteiner.
While the recent emergence of Vidal after almost three months in the wilderness may force something of a transfer rethink at the Nou Camp, that aforementioned interest in Srna does appear to be genuine. Speaking before Group H winners Shakhtar's Europa League tie against Braga in north-west Portugal, a game in which the visitors will seek to maintain their 100% competition record ahead of Monday's draw for the last 32, Fonseca expressed his desire to see the player stay put.
"I know of the interest," he was quoted as saying by Mundo Deportivo. "It is not for me to make this decision. We know the importance of Srna on our team and we also know of his importance to the club. [Srna] has spent many years with us. I sincerely hope he doesn't go."
Vidal, meanwhile, claims he will not be seeking to depart Catalonia anytime soon after finally working his way back into Enrique's first-team plans. The 27-year-old had been linked with a potential return to Sevilla, the club he left in a £13m ($16.3m) deal back in June 2015 despite being left ineligible to play until January due to Barcelona's transfer ban.
"The club can make whatever decisions they want with me, but I have no intention of leaving," he told TV3. It would be foolish to consider leaving the best club in the world. I have a contract here and I think I can succeed here.
"If I value today's performance, it's because I have not been playing for three months. I'm convinced of my performance, although I have to work on the mental side of things. I can always improve. It's complicated to never play and then to have a performance like today. In training I will continue to give 200%. I understand that it is a sporting issue, not a personal one, with the coach, so I will try to wait for more opportunities and will continue to work hard."