Having already agreed a deal with the Dutch giants to sign Frenkie de Jong, the Blaugrana have also been linked with his club and international team-mate. However, according to Moises Llorens and Sam Marsden of ESPN FC, Barcelona are now worried they may miss out on the 19-year-old.
"We can't move any more on what we've offered," said a source quoted in the piece. "One of the things that could benefit us is the player's desire to come here, but we will see if that really is what he wants in the end."
It's added that Barcelona have struck an agreement in principle with Ajax for De Ligt for around €75 million, but they've not yet settled on terms with the player or his agent, Mino Raiola.
As such, the likes of Juventus, Bayern and PSG are said to have been given fresh hope in their respective pursuits of one of the game's biggest rising stars. Raiola is said to be using the widespread interest in the player to try and push for an increased salary for his client.
Spanish football journalist Guillem Balague provided his insight into the De Ligt transfer battle:
Guillem Balague @GuillemBalague
Latest on #DeLigt. Three clubs in the short list. Ajax will not auction him as they will be happy with €60-70, his future depends only on him. #FCB the club that pays the least but hope other things will convince him -style, Messi, de Jong. More: 🎥 https://t.co/t1TOqhqAkm https://t.co/uUV733LDSo
While Llorens and Marsden provided a negative outlook on the situation for Barcelona, according to Sky Sports the Blaugrana are still major favourites to secure the Ajax tyro. Manchester United and Liverpool are also noted as possible suitors.
The clamour to sign De Ligt is understandable, as he's on course to become one of the best players in the world. Already he's showcased incredible defensive skills at the highest level, helping Ajax reach the UEFA Champions League semi-finals this season.
De Ligt also proved he could be a threat in the opposition box, scoring in the semi-final defeat to Tottenham Hotspur and a crucial goal in the triumph over Juventus in the previous round (U.S. only):
Despite his age, De Ligt has also showcased remarkable leadership and delivered this impassioned speech to supporters at the team's recent celebration of their Eredivisie and KNVB Cup triumphs:
Barcelona would benefit from a player like De Ligt, as they have looked defensively suspect at crucial points in the campaign. During their collapse against Liverpool in the Champions League, they lacked both the organisation and the leadership to see out the game.
De Ligt is not the finished article yet, although he has already shown enough to suggest he could make a big difference at the Camp Nou and potentially become an ideal successor to Gerard Pique. It appears any transfer will be far from straightforward at this point, though.