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The Catalan club are looking at the former Croatia captain as a short-term solution at right-back for the second half of the season. But do they need him?


Barcelona are still in the market for a right-back. It was something of a surprise in the summer that club legend Dani Alves was allowed to leave Camp Nou with no real replacement lined up. But the search for a successor continues.

Coach Luis Enrique admitted in his first press conference in pre-season that he had been taken aback by the departure of Alves. However, he later insisted he was happy with his options on the right side of defence: Sergi Roberto and Aleix Vidal.

Roberto has impressed again in the current campaign, although the thinking at Camp Nou is that one day he will be a valuable midfielder for the Catalan club. Vidal, however, was poor in the 2-1 loss at home to Alaves earlier this month and his days at Barcelona are seemingly now numbered.

Signed last year as a long-term replacement for Alves, Vidal is a La Masia graduate and a Spain international, but he failed to adapt in his first campaign (after being made to wait six months to make his debut due to the transfer ban) and has not improved in his second season.

So Barca, having looked at the exciting young Croat Sime Vrsaljko for much of last season, have now turned their attentions to his former international team-mate Darijo Srna, who could arrive in January on a short-term deal.

Vrsaljko ultimately moved to Atletico in the summer and could face Barca at Camp Nou on Wednesday night. The 24-year-old cost the Rojiblancos €16 million, which was virtually the identical amont the Catalans spent on Lucas Digne as back-up on the opposite flank. With an array of signings including Digne, Samuel Umtiti, Andre Gomes, Denis Suarez and Paco Alcacer, there were no funds available for another right-back as well - and Barca stuck with what they had.

But it is now a priority position and one that looks likely to be addressed in the winter window following Vidal's disappointing display against Alaves.

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Srna is 34 years old and has spent the past 13 years at Shakhtar Donetsk in Ukraine. For many years one of the world's best in his position, it seems a little late for him to move to an elite European club - even though he was impressive for Croatia at Euro 2016 following the death of his father.

Tall, athletic, fast and an excellent crosser, Srna is a solid defender and would be a reliable right-back for Barca if Luis Enrique feels Roberto is out of his depth in the biggest matches - particularly in the Champions League towards the end of the season.

He would be a short-term fix, with former Barca youngster Hector Bellerin (now at Arsenal) the club's transfer target for the right-back role next summer. But in the twilight of his career, would he really be better back-up than Vidal in that position? Luis Enrique evidently thinks so.