Barcelona's honorary president Johan Cruyff believes the club should consider selling Dani Alves to Manchester City rather than risk him leaving on a free.
Alves is a transfer target for City, having so far failed to agree a new contract with his current club. With the full-back's present deal set to expire next summer, Barca are increasingly worried they could lose out on a sizeable transfer fee if he opts to wind down his contract and depart in the summer of 2012.
The circumstances mirror those of Yaya Toure, who joined City in a £24 million deal last July despite still being wanted at the Nou Camp. While accepting Alves makes Barcelona a better side, Cruyff believes it might be best to sell the 27-year-old to City soon rather than let him leave for nothing in 18 months' time.
"Barca are a sensational team with or without Alves. Is it better to have him with us? Sure," Cruyff said. "City are interested, though, and it may be better to sell him than wait for his contract to end next year and leave on a free.
"If he goes, negotiations will be simple. We will say, 'Thanks, goodbye and good luck'. It's exactly the same as Toure. Coach Pep Guardiola wants Alves to stay, as he did Toure - but what cannot be, cannot be."