Barcelona may be forced to pay more than the expected €40m asking price for Jean Michael Seri after Nice claimed such a release clause no longer existed.
La Blaugrana seem to be on the cusp of luring the 26-year-old to Catalunya after reports suggested that they had agreed a four-year contract with Seri and his agent.
However, L'Equipe (via Sport) has now alleged that Barca will have to pay in excess of that fee after Nice revealed that Seri's release clause fee had already expired.
Seri did have a €40m release clause add-on in his current contract with the Ligue 1 side, but his employers have insisted that such a clause ran out on 15th July, and now want much more in the way of cash before they decide whether or not to part with the combative midfielder.
Barcelona have less than 10 days to complete a move for the Ivory Coast star if they wish to add him to their ranks, but question marks remain as to whether they will be held to ransom over his signing by Nice.
The Catalan giants may even find negotiating with Nice a lost cause after the club's general mamager Julien Fournier admitted that he expected Nice to retain Seri's services for the rest of the 2017/18 season.
In quotes published by Sport he said: “We haven’t negotiated with Barça nor do I know of any negotiations lined up in the next few days. They’re just rumours, so we haven’t set a price for Seri.
“I think the player will stay with us this season. It’s true that he is open to listening to offers but he’s also happy at Nice whether we qualify for the group stages of the Champions League or not.”
Seri has been tracked by Arsenal and Paris Saint-Germain throughout the summer, but it was Barcelona who had jumped to the head of the queue before the latest spanners were thrown in the works.
The ex-Porto man has made 84 appearances in all competitions for Les Aiglons since his move to the club in July 2015.