Barcelona were willing to pay Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Angel Di Maria a staggering annual salary of €10 million (£9 million) to bring him to the Camp Nou.
That's according to Luis Rojo of Marca, who noted that manager Ernesto Valverde "viewed the former Real Madrid winger as the ideal player to compensate for Neymar's exit." However, a deal did not come off, meaning Di Maria remains at the Parc des Princes for the foreseeable future.
Having lost Neymar to PSG for a world-record fee, Barcelona spent much of the summer scrambling around for options in the final third. While they drafted in Ousmane Dembele from Borussia Dortmund, they were unable to bolster their attack further.
Di Maria may have had concerns about his place in the PSG team after the arrivals of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe too. As noted by OptaJean, before his recent injury, it was clear the Argentina international was trying hard to make an impression:
When he is at full flight, there aren't many more effective attacking players around than Di Maria; his pace, power and creativity make him so dangerous. However, since leaving Real Madrid for Manchester United in 2014, he's found it difficult to find consistency.
Given the amount Barcelona would have had to pay to get this one done, there aren't too many Cules who will lament missing out on the 29-year-old. Di Maria now faces a major fight for regular minutes at the Parc des Princes—until January, at least.
Real Madrid to Rival Barcelona for Maxime Lopez
According to Sport, Real Madrid are ready to muscle in on Barcelona's pursuit of Olympique de Marseille midfielder Maxime Lopez.
"He's a player like Andres Iniesta and Barcelona have been following him in the French league since last season," it's reported. There is also a note that Madrid have a reputation for landing some of European football's brightest rising stars; manager Zinedine Zidane has the likes of Marco Asensio, Theo Hernandez, Dani Ceballos and Jesus Vallejo on his books.
Lopez is in a similar mould, having forced his way into the Marseille first team despite being just 19.
As these numbers from Squawka Football show, the youngster is happy to take responsibility despite his tender years:
Those traits—both mental and technical—are what Barcelona need in their squad. After all, the talent pushing for a starting spot from La Masia is scarce; Lopez has the potential to refresh the hub of this Barca team and play there for years to come.
When Real Madrid are involved in the chase for a player, any competitors won't rest easy. But from Lopez's perspective, another season at Marseille, where he can continue to play football regularly without pressure, would surely be best for his development.