Barcelona could consider to go into the market in the coming days to find a replacement for Aleix Vidal. The January transfer window closed 12 days ago but La Liga still allow the Catalans to make a new emergency addition after the former Sevilla wing-back sustained a season-ending injury during the weekend's 6-0 win over Alaves.
IBTimes UK explains why and who are the potential options should manager Luis Enrique opts to fill the gap left by Vidal ahead of the last and crucial part of the campaign.
Why Barcelona are allowed to sign now?
La Liga, as the rest of the European Leagues, have two different windows for their clubs to sign and register new players, one in the summer and the other one in January.
However, the article 124.3 of the Spanish Football Federation estates that La Liga clubs can also sign players out of those windows in exceptional circumstances, when a member of the squad is ruled out for more than five months due to sickness or injury.
Then the club in question have to take the injured player out from the squad and replace him with the new signing, meaning that even if the player recovers earlier than expected he will not be able to play again during the season.
In this case, Barcelona could be allowed to sign a replacement for Vidal after on weekend the club revealed that the Spaniard is going to be out of action for about five months, having already underwent an operation in his ankle to reduce the swelling.
Who Barcelona could sign now?
The options of Barcelona are limited as the rules of the Spanish Football Federation also state that, out of the transfer windows, clubs only can sign players currently playing in La Liga or free-agents.
Which competitions a potential new signing would be able to play?
The new potential Vidal replacement at Barcelona would be able to play both the La Liga games and the Copa del Rey final against Alaves but will be unavailable for the Champions League encounters, as Uefa rules are different.
10 Potential targets
Barcelona have been linked with a number of right-backs in recent months after Luis Enrique saw this position weakened by the departure of Dani Alves to Juventus during the summer of 2016.
Arsenal's Hector Bellerin and Shakhtar Donetsk's Darijo Srna have been some of the names touted as potential candidates in the past but neither of them would be able to join Barcelona right now as they are not playing in La Liga and neither are free-agents.
Martin Caceres: The 29-year-old versatile defender already played for Barcelona in the 2008-2009 campaign and is without a team since leaving Juventus at the end of last season.
Maicon: The Brazilian wing-back, who is currently 35, is also a free agent since he left Roma last summer.
Jose Bosingwa: The former Chelsea right-back, 34, played at Turkish side Trabzonspor during the 2015-2016 side but now is also without a team.
La Liga players
Douglas Pereira (Sporting Gijon): The Sporting Gijon loanee emerged as a likely option following Vidal's blow as he still belongs to Barcelona. However, fresh reports claimed that the Catalans have already ruled out to bring the 26-year-old back to the Nou Camp as they will need to pay a compensation to break their agreement with the Asturian side.
Cancelo (Valencia): In December Sport reported that the Valencia right-back was going to become Barcelona first signing of the coming summer. However, those reports have cooled down in recent times due to his poor form. Furthermore, Valencia won't let him go for less than €25m and it looks unlikely the Catalans make such an investment now.
Jonny Castro (Celta): The 22-year-old defender looks an interesting option for the Catalans. He is Bellerin's back-up in the Spanish Under-21 national team and Luis Enrique knows him well from his time at Vigo.
Mario Gaspar (Villarreal): The 26-year-old right-back is international with the Spanish national team and has been linked with Barcelona in the past. However, it looks unlikely that Villarreal let him go on the cheap.
Ander Capa (Eibar): The 25-year-old defender is impressing at Eibar and was already linked with a €10m move to the Premier League in January.
Michel Macedo (Las Palmas): The Brazilian has excelled this season at Las Palmas. However, a potential move to Barcelona look now very uncertain as last week suffered a muscle injury which is expected to have him out of action for several weeks.
Antonio Rukavina (Villarreal): The 33-year-old defender has seen his playing time at Villarreal restricted this season and could be cheap emergency option to serve as a back-up for Sergi Roberto until the end of the season.