The signing of Matthijs de Ligt's taken a similar turn to the one which saw Frenkie de Jong join Barcelona. The Dutch defender had been reticent to sign due to economic and sporting reasons, but in recent weeks things have changes in the Catalan club's favour.
Barça made moves again at the end of February for De Ligt. The signing is not done but the club are optimistic because of the Ajax centre-back's preference is to move to Camp Nou. The operation is underway. It will be complicated, but everything is on track.
Barça met with De Ligt and his agents at the end of November in Amsterdam. The response wasn't positive. De Ligt has big offers on the table from elsewhere but, above all, he was concerned about how many minutes he would get at Camp Nou next season.
He wants a lead role on the pitch and clubs like Juventus and Bayern Munich were ready to give him that from the off. At Barça, he has to compete with Lenglet, Umtiti and Pique and that complicated talks.
Barcelona practically gave up on De Ligt and focused on De Jong. The even pushed for the January arrival of Todico, with the intention of him being a useful defensive option next season. The file on De Ligt seem closed until the player told the club he was ready to take on the challenge. His mind seems made up and will perhaps only change again if he receives a huge offer which he simply can't reject from elsewhere.
After learning of his intention, Barça got to work. Despite what's said, there's a good understanding with his agent, Mino Raiola, who is close to some members of the club's signing committee. It doesn't need to be said that the relationship between Barça and Ajax is superb.
The only thing Barça have put on the table is that they don't want to become embroiled in a bidding war. They know he will be a player who can mark an era, but the club are also covered in his position and won't go crazy. If other clubs will go overboard in terms of the fee paid to Ajax, Barça will not play the game.
For now, Barça's biggest rival is Bayern but the club also believe Juve will return again. The Italian side have met with De Ligt several times but have still not made a new offer.
What everyone is clear on is that De Ligt will decide his future in one month. The defender wants to make a definitive call and Barça are in pole. But there's nothing signed. Barça have done all they can and are waiting for news. They're no hiding their optimism but nothing is closed.
Ajax are also increasingly convinced De Ligt will end up in Blaugrana. They know they player's opinion and they respect it, as was the case with De Jong. In that case, the Dutch club lost out on money because PSG would have paid more, but they respected the midfielder's desire.