If Martin Montoya thought that the arrival of Luis Enrique at the helm of Barcelona would change things for him, he has been severely disappointed.
The 23-year-old had long been rumoured to be on his way out of the Camp Nou, stuck farther down the pecking order than he would like despite his youthful promise.
Dani Alves looked to be on the verge of clearing a path for Montoya to the starting eleven by departing in the summer, but instead stayed on with the Catalan giants.
And the Spaniard has in turn found himself on the outside looking in. Enrique has granted him just one appearance in La Liga this term, a full 90 minutes against Athletic Bilbao.
The latest blow for Montoya came in the form of being left out of Barcelona’s Champions League squad for Paris Saint-Germain – and the situation has now come to a head.
Agent Juan Carrasco already said this week that the youngster will certainly leave the club he has represented for 15 years in January, reiterating his statement on Wednesday.
But Carrasco nonetheless faced questions from Tuttomercatoweb on Wednesday over whether Barcelona could block a transfer, which the agent downplayed.
He said: “It’s not a problem for Montoya or myself – it’s not a problem for us. The decision has been made; we are looking at the situation and Luis Enrique’s decisions.
“When a Barca player like Montoya wants to leave, I don’t think the club will stand in his way.
“Tomorrow [Thursday] there will be a meeting with Barcelona to communicate a decision we have already taken.
“Facts count more than words – I don’t intend to discuss who is at fault and otherwise, the most important thing is that Martin wants to leave now.”
Carrasco has made it clear that he’ll fight to secure a move elsewhere for Montoya even if there is unforeseen resistance from Barcelona.
The likes of Liverpool and Juventus would then be free to duke it out for the Spaniard’s services in what would be a hotly contested race, with other suitors also sniffing about.
There is, however, one more factor to consider. Barcelona’s appeal against their FIFA-imposed transfer ban is currently under review in the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should the CAS uphold the ban, confirming a verdict will be published before the New Year, the Blaugrana would still be able to sell – but may reconsider their strategy.
With Alves’ contract set to expire in the summer, Enrique could be pressed into a scenario in which he’s inclined to promote Montoya to secure the club’s future at right-back.
This would potentially offer Montoya an incentive to stay via more playing time, though it’s unclear at this point if Barcelona are willing to go down this road.
At the moment the Spaniard’s mind is certainly fixed on going elsewhere, though in a complicated situation, there could yet be further developments that play a role in determining where his future lies.