Barcelona are potentially wavering in their protracted pursuit of Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt after a report from the local press has publicised doubts over his attitude and wage demands compared to international colleague Frenkie de Jong.
De Jong agreed an €86m Barcelona transfer in January, remaining at Ajax until the end of the season. It was reported at the time that he chose the Catalans for sporting reasons, ultimately turning down the chance to earn more money at Paris Saint-Germain.
De Jong therefore seems well liked by the city's media, but the same perhaps cannot now be said for De Ligt, who is the subject of an eye opening report from Mundo Deportivo (MD).
The story alleges that De Ligt has a lack of 'humility' for a player so young at the very start of his professional career and that it has become a problem for Barça in trying to strike a deal.
MD cites information obtained from people involved in the ongoing negotiations to claim that an arrogant attitude, while beneficial on the pitch against world class opponents, has lead De Ligt to demand guarantees that he will be a regular starter for Barça and be paid more than a player of his young age and limited top level experience would usually earn.
The report goes on to suggest that his choice of agent, Mino Raiola, is reflective of this attitude, while the 19-year-old is directly compared to the slightly older De Jong, who it is said knows there is still plenty of time in the future to negotiate massive contracts.
For De Ligt, the insinuation is that that time is now. He apparently wants more money than De Jong. But whether he is likely to get it remains to be seen as MD notes that Barça will not bow to the demands that ignore the club's wage scale, while they see De Jong as a more influential player.
Somewhat cuttingly, MD refers to De Light as simply a '19-year-old boy', adding that he 'is very good but is neither a scorer nor will he become a Messi.'