Manchester United have made what is being described as an 'ultimatum' to Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt as they make one final attempt to sign the 19-year-old ahead of Barcelona.
De Ligt has been one of the most talked about players in Europe this season after a playing a crucial role in getting Ajax to within a few seconds of a first Champions League final in 23 years.
While Liverpool have no plans to make an approach, Barcelona had been heavy favourites to land the Dutchman, with the Catalans hoping to see him follow Frenkie de Jong to Spain.
But wealthy United have also remain linked as the Old Trafford club desperately try to stop the rot that has set in and restore themselves to their former glory.
One rumour earlier this month claimed that De Ligt has no interest in joining United because of how far the club has fallen. That story suggested he was prepared to turn down a contract worth a staggering £65m over five years in favour of accepting a less lucrative deal elsewhere.
Where, exactly, was not clear, but the implication was Barcelona.
However, it then wasn't long before a contradictory report surfaced claiming that De Ligt was still 'open' to a potential move to United. The cynics among us might wonder if such a story was planted as a ploy to bleed a better offer from a club with better prospects, but as a minimum it highlighted that it would not simply be smooth sailing for Barcelona to secure a deal.
There have since been further reports of a Barcelona deal being held up over alleged commission demands from agent Mino Raiola, who it is perhaps pertinent to point out has been issued with a global three-month ban by FIFA, and talks further stalling over the Catalans' already huge wage bill that cannot currently take more high profile signings.
All of that led SPORT to suggest this week that Barcelona, while still 'hopeful', are no longer 'optimistic' that De Ligt will be joining them this summer.
And this may be Manchester United's opportunity to try their hand one last time, with a separate report from SPORT, via Sport Witness, claiming that the Premier League side are suddenly now 'among the top contenders' after making an improved offer.
The story alleges that De Ligt has already turned down one proposal from United worth €14m (£12.3m), a not dissimilar amount to the aforementioned five-year contract. But the Red Devils have apparently now 'significantly improved' that offer and are awaiting a fresh response.
It is now said to be 'tempting' to De Ligt. But if he is to turn this one down as well, United will not waste time trying to change his mind and will move on to other targets, an ultimatum, as it were.