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According to latest reports Dani Alves is set to leave FC Barcelona after failing to agree to a new deal. The contract extension offered by the Rosell administration is said to be an improvement on his current terms but still below the likes of Xavi, Iniesta or new signee David Villa.

While it can be argued that those three extended or signed their contracts under Joan Laporta’s regime; the fact that Rosell and his board were prepared to offer Cesc Fabregast the same terms speaks volumes of Rosell’s evaluation of Alves.

Cesc is one of the finest midfielders in the business – there’s no doubt about it. He also may or may not have Barca DNA in his system, but the fact remains that he hasn’t contributed anything to the Blaugrana’s recent success. Meanwhile Alves is already a key player for FC Barcelona and he is an invaluable asset to the club.

Besides, Dani Alves IS the best right-back in world football. The Ibrahimovic experiment has demonstrated that not every player is capable of playing the Barca way. Finding an adequate replacement for the marauding full-back could prove to be far more costly than simply extending and improving his contract.

Even the English light-version of Dani Alves, Glen Johnson (who is more than just suspicious in defense) cost more than 20.000.000 €.

Let’s crunch the numbers.

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Now let’s assume Dani Alves demands parity with top earners like the aforementioned Xavi, Iniesta and David Villa, who are on a basic salary of 7.500.000€ per annum.

If the reports are to be believed the proposed contract extension ran through 2015, which would amount to 5 years.

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My calculations could be off but Alves "new" salary would fall right in between the costs for a new quality full-back. Not to mention, there are always question marks over the adaptability of the player in question.

In the very best scenario the Alves replacement would settle in as quickly as the Brazilian, at worst he’d turn out to be another Ibrahimovic.

FC Barcelona are not a team in transition, thus there’s no need to experiment. Florentino Perez once sold Claude Makelele to Chelsea FC and replaced him with Thomas Gravesen – the outcome, a couple of trophy-barren seasons.

Let’s be realistic for a moment, there’s no adequate replacement on the market, at least not for FC Barcelona. As far as I can tell the only right-back suitable enough to play for the Blaugrana is Sergio Ramos. And unless Barca pay his exorbitant release-clause there’s very little chance the Andalusian will wear the Blaugrana colors anytime soon.

However, Spanish newspaper AS speculates that Alves will be sold in the upcoming January transfer window; among the interested parties, Chelsea FC and Manchester City.

Although there is an increased possibility that Alves will leave Catalunya, I don’t believe it will be in the winter transfer window. Not only is Barca’s squad depth already very thin to begin with, Alves is also cup-tied.

If Rosell were to sanction a transfer in January, he would effectively forfeit the Champions League trophy for the second year in a row. The most realistic scenario would be a transfer in the summer of 2011. But in that situation Barca wouldn’t be able to command a fee in excess of 10.000.000 – 15.000.000€ or risk losing him for as little as 5.000.000€ in January 2012.

Whatever the case may be, I am seriously beginning to doubt that Sandro Rosell has ever attended a business school.

Dani Alves Highlights 2009/2010