Barcelona suffered a terrible blow to their squad depth when full-back Aleix Vidal underwent surgery on a dislocated ankle and has been ruled out for the rest of the season.
With 16 La Liga matches, a potential seven Champions League games and the Copa del Rey still to come this season, the Blaugrana cannot afford to play over 20 matches with only one right-back in the squad.
Sergi Roberto is not in the best form of his career, which also doesn't help matters, and even though manager Luis Enrique could use Javier Mascherano as an option in the position, the best decision is to incorporate a new right-back into the squad until the end of the season.
And according to the rules, Barça can look to the transfer market to find a new player. If there is a confirmed season-ending injury, Spanish clubs are allowed to sign players outside of the transfer window, but only under two conditions:
- The player is in La Liga OR out of contract
- The player can only be used in Spanish competitions
There are very good right-backs in Spain, like Mariano of Sevilla, João Cancelo of Valencia and Mario Gaspar at Villarreal, but those three players are key members of their teams and they won't be sold in February. Douglas Pereira is playing on loan at Sporting Gijón and could be recalled, but given he was basically useless for two seasons, it wouldn't be a good decision to bring him back, even as a cover.
The best and easiest option that wouldn't cost any money would be to promote a player from Barça B to the first team. The two full-backs, Sergi Palencia and Nili, have played for the first team and are promising youth products in the position, and could use the opportunities. They can also be used in the Champions League, which is not an option for a potential signing.
What would you do to replace Aleix Vidal, Barça fans?