Jordi Alba is a Barcelona legend in every sense of the word. He has donned the Blaugrana colours since 2012 and has been one of the club's finest servants during this period.
He has well and truly made that left-back spot his own for a very long time and deservedly so. Jordi Alba has been one of the few elite left-backs in the 2010s, with his offensive qualities almost unmatched by any other of his breed.
However, it is perhaps time to gradually phase Jordi Alba out of the Barcelona starting line-up as the Spaniard is approaching the age of 32. He still remains a solid player, but the lack of a potential replacement in the near future has been a concern for Barcelona. Junior Firpo's signing from Real Betis was seen as a fine acquisition, but he hasn't quite hit the ground running.
So, it is only natural for Barcelona to go shopping for another player in that replacement who could potentially take over from Jordi Alba in the seasons to come. Here are five options in this regard that Barcelona may consider.
Five potential replacements for Jordi Alba at Barcelona:
#5: David Alaba (Bayern Munich)
A player who has been heavily linked with both Barcelona and Real Madrid in recent days, David Alaba would be a no-nonsense signing for Barcelona.
The Austrian is one of the best left-backs on the planet and can play at center-back or in midfield just as comfortably, rendering him one of the most versatile footballers in the world right now.
In regular circumstances, Bayern Munich would be completely against the idea of selling their star player. However, it is now an open secret that Alaba wants to play in Spain. Moreover, his wage demands are deemed as over-the-top by the Bayern Munich heirarchy. As a result, Alaba could be acquired if Barcelona play their cards right, although it would cost them a pretty penny regardless.
Alaba is a veteran already at 28 - three years younger than Alba - and his experience of winning at the highest level will undoubtedly be of great use to Barcelona.
He could even play with Alba, given his versatility. If Barcelona are in no mood to take a chance on a younger player and watch it go wrong - as was the case with Junior Firpo - David Alaba would be the man to target.
#4: Raphael Guerreiro (Borussia Dortmund)
If Barcelona want a like-for-like replacement for Jordi Alba, it doesn't get much better than Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro.
The Portuguese is an offensive machine, much like Alba. Guerreiro can do just about anything and everything when he arrives in the final third. He can cross the ball expertly, can play beautifully intricate passes and go for goal himself just as well.
Guerrerio's statistics for Borussia Dortmund in the Bundesliga this season paint a pretty picture. He has scored eight goals and provided three assists in just 29 matches - an excellent return for a full-back.
His tally of 11 goal contributions is the joint-highest he has logged in a single league campaign in his career so far, meaning that he's at the peak of his powers. Arguably, he has even been one of Borussia Dortmund's best players this season.
Guerrerio is still only 26 and would be a great signing for Barcelona if they intend to play the way they do with Alba, with the full-backs flying in behind defences to act like extra wingers.
#3: Juan Bernat (PSG)
27-year-old Spanish left-back Juan Bernat could be an ideal option if Barcelona intend to play it safe.
He has experience of playing at the highest level, having represented both Bayern Munich and PSG in the Champions League. Besides, he also has ample experience of playing in La Liga from his time at Valencia and also occasionally features for the Spain national team.
Bernat has enjoyed a very decent 2019-20 season with PSG, directly contributing to eight goals across Ligue 1 and the Champions League in 25 cumulative appearances in both competitions. His dribbling skills have also been on show in France; Bernat pulls off 1.6 of those every game.
The defensive side of Bernat's game is suspect, though, and leaves much to be desired, but he would not be a bad option at all for Barcelona. There might not be much upside to this signing, but it wouldn't cost Barcelona a lot and would be an ideal pickup if the club choose to be risk-averse.
#2: Jose Gaya (Valencia)
A wonder-talent not so long ago, Jose Gaya might not have hit the heights one anticipated him to a few years back, but he's still a very good left-back.
Gaya isn't as ridiculously fast as Jordi Alba, but he's one of the quickest left-backs in the La Liga nevertheless. He's also excellent on the ball and can curl some stunning crosses into the box with his wondrous left-foot.
With over 175 La Liga appearances for Valencia, the 25-year-old will find it easy to settle into the Barcelona squad as his role would likely remain similar to his current one. Although he doesn't have the numbers to correctly express his attacking talent, they will surely rise up when he plays with much better teammates at Barcelona.
Most importantly, Gaya has developed into a pretty decent 1v1 defender, which is a very important skill to have for any full-back who plays for Barcelona as the Catalan club often tends to get caught out in counter attacks.
#1: Alejandro Grimaldo (Benfica)
Bring him back home!
The third Spanish player on the bounce, Alejandro Grimaldo is the perfect player to conclude this list.
The 24-year-old spent seven years with Barcelona, playing for the reserve team, with a hope to make it all the way to the senior squad. Grimaldo was consistently one of the best players at Barcelona B, so when his chance failed to arrive even after waiting for a long time, he found it suitable to take his talents to Portugal.
With Benfica, Grimaldo shined as brightly as many predicted he would. Right now, he is one of the best left-backs in the world and could be a genine superstar in the near future.
His technical abilities are off-the-charts. His first-touch is magnificent, his passing is top-drawer, and his dribbling skills would make any winger jealous. Add to that, his expertise in dead-ball situations, and you have the complete offensive package.
Like almost any other left-back these days, Grimaldo's defending is a work in progress. That being said, he has shown considerable promise in that respect, and there is reason to believe he could morph into a good defender when he is still in his prime.
Grimaldo knows the Barcelona way of playing football better than anyone on this list, which makes him a very obvious choice to take the baton from Jordi Alba when the latter sees himself phased out of the first-team.