Dani Alves left the Camp Nou some weeks ago, and it is highly unlikely that a Brazilian will still be manning down the right back position next season at Barcelona. Aleix Vidal should be the incumbent starter at the beginning of the season, and Luis Enrique has said that he trusts Sergi Roberto at the position as well. Injuries and an inability to impress in training and in spot appearances has left Douglas Pereira as a distant third on the depth chart, and it is clear that his future is not at Barcelona. Brazilian club Cruzeiro has offered to take him off Luis Enrique’s hands, but Douglas and his agent have opted to try to keep the player in the Catalan capital.
Douglas’ refusal to play for Cruzeiro is not because the Brazilian club is not a quality side. In fact, they have long been a top club in Brazil, having won four Brasileiro Serie A titles, the latest coming in 2014. The Brazilian top flight currently includes players playing for the Brazilian national team such as Lucas Lima and Douglas Santos, so it doesn’t appear that Douglas would compromise potential international duty by making the move. Potential is the key word, though, as the potential of playing throughout Europe is the reason why Douglas wishes to play in Spain.
Douglas shouldn’t be criticized because he believes he is still going to make it at Barcelona, because there is much more to the story. Much like Barcelona players of the past such Alexander Hleb and Dmytro Chygrynskiy, forever remembered as players who just never made the grade at the Camp Nou, Douglas has a great advantage in the transfer market because of the name on his jersey. Getting a European passport by staying one more season at the Camp Nou would allow him to play anywhere in Europe -- a huge boost to his future career chances.
Yet, EU passports are not just given to players when they are bought by European clubs. There are rules on citizenship, and Douglas must be in the country for one more year to become a Spanish citizen. The world of football has seen countless examples of players with the quality to play for European clubs, but they are not worth the price of getting rid of another non-EU player, as clubs do have a quota. Some may want to compare Douglas’ situation to that of the Barcelona youngsters involved in last year’s ban, but as a 25-year-old professional, Douglas’ situation is much different.
While the former São Paulo right-back may not fit at Barcelona, a number of teams, potentially in La Liga but certainly in the Segunda Division, may take a flyer on a player who learned from and trained with Andres Iniesta, Lionel Messi and Dani Alves for two years. If he only signed to share the things that he has learned with younger players, he may be worth the minimal price that Barcelona are asking.
Barcelona originally paid four million euros plus incentives to pry Douglas from São Paulo, so it is clear that they will lose money on the player. While Barcelona were able to sell 60 percent of the player’s rights to Cruzeiro for €2 million, Douglas’ decision to try to gain dual nationality means that the Catalan club will need to continue looking for another suitor.
The Brazilian’s time with Barcelona has certainly been forgettable, as his experiences in the Blaugrana shirt have been marred by injury in the rare times he saw the field. In two seasons in Catalunya, Douglas made an embarrassing total of eight appearances, three in La Liga and five in the Copa del Rey. With 124 appearances for São Paulo in the three years prior, he had shown that he was reliable and a quality option.
Nevertheless, with a contract at Barcelona until 2019, it may been in everyone’s best interest to send the right-back out of loan to prove his worth at a lesser club to see if he can play his way into a larger payday in one year’s time, just as he is eligible to be an EU player.
Unlike Chelsea or Real Madrid, Barcelona have in recent years adopted the tactic of selling players with a buy-back option as opposed to sending them out on loan, so it would also be no surprise if that was Douglas’ fate. The Brazilian will certainly join the growing exodus of defenders at Barcelona this transfer window, a group that already includes countryman Dani Alves and Marc Bartra, and his unimpressive time at Barcelona will meet its unceremonious end.