Cape Town - Barcelona are reportedly facing stiff opposition from Manchester City as they look to strengthen their defence with the signing of Ajax central defender Matthijs de Ligt.
Reports in Catalonia have stated club officials now don't want to pay more than £75 million to acquire the powerful 19-year-old this summer, having agreed on a £108 million deal in recent days for Atletico Madrid forward Antoine Griezmann.
The Catalans are committed to paying £85m for De Ligt's Ajax midfield team-mate Frenkie De Jong, who agreed to a move in January and snubbed the Etihad in the process.
That is said to have even stretched Barcelona's vast resources, with little hope they can recoup the £140m outlay they splurged last year on Brazil flop Philippe Coutinho.
Ajax are understood to be demanding £90m for De Ligt and City have made it clear they are willing to get close to that figure, should the teenager express a desire to make the move to Manchester.
City boss Pep Guardiola wants to add extra quality to the centre of his rearguard and knows De Ligt is already schooled in his own footballing philosophy of playing out from the back.
There are question marks hanging over the defensive futures of skipper Vincent Kompany and Nicolas Otamendi, intensifying City's desire to make themselves as attractive as possible to De Ligt and his advisers.