Matthijs de Ligt was a strategic signing and Barça put all their cards on the table from the first moment. After more than two months of meetings, directors and coaches tried to convince the defender to sign a deal. However de Ligt continued to be elusive and now the transfer appears to be very, very complicated. Barça are aware the Ajax captain remains in negotiations with other teams and have decided not to wait any longer. If he decides to accept Barça's offer, the club will welcome him with open arms. But the relationship has soured in recent weeks and the two sides have barely spoke.
Barça were expecting a decision to be made following the final of the Nations League tournament but instead de Ligt announced he needed more time to consider his options. The defender didn't want to commit either way and remains in talks with various other interested teams.
For their part Barça have decided they won't make any further overtures to de Ligt. The final offer from the club came a little over a month ago with no answer given either way. The concern and worry now is that if de Ligt's decision was to sign for Barça he would have done that already. Yet more delays suggests he is leaning towards another proposal instead.
No one is giving up on a transfer happening but SPORT revealed that Barça spoke with Mino Raiola, the defender's agent, to let him know they wouldn't be upping their current offer.
The belief amongst the Barça board is that de Ligt will sign for Juventus or PSG. The one aspect where Barça remain ahead of their rivals is the fact they've agreed terms with Ajax whereas the others haven't. This means the decision rests entirely with de Ligt, who has yet to inform Ajax he wants to leave.
Bayern, Manchester United and Juventus have all offered almost double the wages Barça have. With PSG on the scene, the financial difference could be even bigger.
Despite the concern, Barça will stand strong on the terms they initially presented to the defender. The plan was to keep it in line with the terms offered to his former teammate, Frenkie de Jong, and they've done that.
Whilst a deal now appears unlikely, no one is giving up yet. But the longer it takes for de Ligt to make a decision, the further he moves away from a transfer to Barça.