Barcelona are ready to make a last desperate attempt to sign Palmeiras forward Gabriel Jesus despite recent reports suggests that the Brazilian sensation has already decided to move to Manchester City instead, according to Mundo Deportivo.
Yet the Spanish publication claims that Manchester United are still also pushing for his services but the Catalan club hopes that Neymar can help them to convince the player to snub the Premier League giants for a move to the Nou Camp.
The La Liga director of professional sports Albert Soler revealed last Friday that technical secretary Robert Fernandez had travelled to South America with hopes of securing the services of a promising striker, having been repeatedly knocked back by the likes Luciano Vietto, Nolito, Hatem Ben Arfa and Ousmane Dembele due to the players' reluctance to serve as an understudy for the MSN trio formed by Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.
Gremio number nine Luan, West Ham-bound Jonathan Calleri or Gabriel Barbosa Gabigol have consequently been linked with a move to Barcelona in recent days but everyone in Spain looks to agree that the top priority would be Gabriel Jesus.
At that point everything looked set for the Brazilian forward to make the move to Nou Camp, with Barcelona expecting to meet his €24m (£20.2m, $26.8m) release clause now but leaving him on loan at Palmeiras until the January mercato.
However, the deal didn't go ahead after a number of European clubs joined the race to secure his services, with Real Madrid, Inter Milan, City and United among the candidates.
The two Manchester clubs have emerged as the frontrunners to win the battle in recent weeks amid suggestions they are ready to pay more than the clause to lure the Brazilian starlet to Europe.
His agent later admitted to calciomercato.com that they were in "very advanced" talks to move to the Etihad Stadium instead.
Gabriel Jesus has since claimed that he has already made a decision on his future, with Globoesporte claiming that City are ready to pay Palmeiras €32m to compete the move.
"My future is almost decided," he said at a press conference, as quoted by The Guardian. "My family, my representatives and Palmeiras know where I want to go but now I'm totally focused on winning gold for my country. The agreement is almost done but I'm completely concentrated here. Before I came here I was in negotiations, but now that I'm here I'm leaving it to my parents and my agents. Before long my decision will be known."
But Mundo Deportivo claims that Barcelona refuse to give up on the battle until City actually make everything official, while adding that Jose Mourinho is also still trying to lure him to United.
Robert Fernandez, who is still in South America, is expected to speak with the Gabriel Jesus entourage to convince him to snub the Premier League giants to move to Barcelona. The Spanish publication claims that the Barcelona technical secretary has two aces up his sleeves to hijack the City deal.
First, unlike in June, the Catalans will now offer Gabriel Jesus to move to Barcelona straightaway after his participation in the Rio Olympics. Originally the La Liga giants saw him as a prospect for the future but, after the snubs of other targets, believe he could be ready to join them now and continue his development alongside the MSN.
But Barcelona's biggest hopes to temp Gabriel Jesus lie with Neymar. The Barcelona star is currently with Gabriel Jesus in the Brazilian camp ahead of the Rio Olympics and recently has already begun his encouragement of his compatriot to follow his footsteps to the Nou Camp.
"I spoke with Gabriel Jesus. Not only with him, but also told other players how it feels to play for Barcelona and to live in the city," Neymar said last month, during a press conference released by Globosporte. "He is a great player. We know lots of clubs want him. He needs to know the right moment to leave, we want the good players by our side. If he comes to Barcelona, he will be very happy. Maybe we're the biggest club in the world. The city and the day-to-day are wonderful."