Barcelona will give up on their pursuit of a new striker should they fail to sign Paco Alacer from Valencia, according to Sport. The Spanish publication adds that the current La Liga champions will sign Jasper Cillessen to replace Manchester City-bound Claudio Bravo on Thursday (25 August), following the conclusion of the Dutchman's duties for Ajax in a Champions League game against Rostov on Wednesday night.
Barcelona boss Luis Enrique has been desperately seeking a new forward to serve as back-up to the trio of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar since the beginning of the transfer window. Luciano Vietto, Kevin Gameiro, Gabriel Jesus, Nolito, Hatem Ben Arfa and Ousmane Dembele have all been linked with the Catalans, but every single name opted to move elsewhere due to a reluctance to serve as a mere understudy for the MSN trio.
Last month Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez travelled to South America in a desperate hunt for a new target. However, on 12 August it emerged that the Spaniards have instead identified Alcacer as top priority to fill the position.
Mundo Deportivo and Sport suggested at the time that negotiations between the two clubs were at an advanced stage, with a fee of around €25m (£21.5m, $28.3m) reported. However, Los Che officials have since insisted they want to keep the 22-year-old at Mestalla instead.
Gremio striker Luan and the much-coveted Gabriel Barbosa Gabigol were both named as potential alternatives, but Sport now suggests Barcelona have declared 'Alcacer or bust' in their transfer hunt.
The publication claims Barcelona will make a final offer to Valencia in the coming days. However, if Los Che once again reject their offer Luis Enrique will stick to his current options, with Munir El Haddadi and Arda Turan being deployed to cover any MSN absences.
If Alcacer is signed, it would presumably signal the departure of Munir, with Tottenham Hotspur, Everton, Stoke City, Celta Vigo and Valencia all monitoring the situation.
Sport reports that one player who will definitely join Barcelona before the end of the current window is Cillessen.
The Spanish publication claimed on its Monday front cover that the Catalans have already agreed terms for the goalkeeper. He will sign a five-year deal at the Nou Camp to replace Bravo, who is set to move to Manchester City.
Sport insists that everything is ironed out with both the Dutchman and Ajax, but the deal has been delayed until Thursday as Cillessen has been included in the squad to face Rostov on Wednesday night. Barcelona wanted the keeper to miss that game, but they have finally agreed to let him play as Ajax need to beat the Russians to qualify for the Champions League group stages, having drawn 1-1 in the first leg at the Amsterdam Arena last week.