Marco Verratti is ready to join Barcelona this summer but Paris Saint-Germain will not negotiate his sale, admits club president Josep Bartomeu.
Ernesto Valverde, appointed Luis Enrique's successor at the Nou Camp in June, has made the signings of a creative midfielder and a right-back an immediate priority this summer. Arsenal's Hector Bellerin has been targeted for the latter, but so far Barcelona have been frustrated in their efforts to bring the Spaniard back to the Nou Camp.
It has been a similar story with Verratti, with PSG determined to hold onto the Italy international, despite Barcelona being ready to pay €80m, according to AS.
And with no release clause in the midfielder's contract, Barcelona are quickly running out of options.
"Clubs want to negotiate. Look at Verratti, for instance, a player we are interested in signing, the coaches believe he is good enough to play in Barcelona's midfield," Bartomeu told Mundo Deportivo.
"We know that the player would love to come to Barca but when you call PSG and you talk with the president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi], he says he is not for sale and there is no release clause.
"As such, the president can decide if he feels like negotiating with us or not. In this sense, Spanish football is defenceless. Here, there are release clauses and there, there aren't.
"And outsiders can come and play and we can't. So for now, we've not sat down with PSG, despite the player's willingness to come to Barca. We must accept it."
Bartomeu's comments suggest Barcelona could be ready to throw in the towel and move onto other targets, with the club president explaining PSG will only allow him to move when his contract ends – in 2021.
"If Verratti had a clause, we could go for him. There is no formula. If you don't want to see something... The player has said he wants to leave but PSG tell him he'll be able to go only when his contract ends."
Barcelona have been linked with a number of 'Plan B' options should they reconsider their pursuit of Verratti – although none of them particularly straight forward either. AS report Atletico Madrid's Saul Niguez is the club's preferred alternative, but Los Colchoneros have no intention of cashing in on the 22-year-old, particularly with their current transfer ban.
Manchester United's Ander Herrera was also linked with a move to the La Liga giants in June but the Spain international is reportedly ready to turn down any offers with his focus on future success at Old Trafford.