Barcelona reportedly offered Ajax €30 million for midfielder Frenkie de Jong during the summer transfer window.
According to Goal's Ignasi Oliva Gispert, the Spanish champions offered to buy the 21-year-old and loan him back to the Eredivisie side for the season.
Barcelona want to avoid becoming embroiled in a bidding war for De Jong but saw their offer turned down by Ajax, who remain keen to keep hold of their starlet, per the report.
Ajax sporting director Marc Overmars explained why Barcelona's bid for De Jong failed. Per Samuel Marsden at ESPN FC, he said, "Barca did not value [De Jong]; their offer did not correspond with Frenkie's qualities."
De Jong has caught Barcelona's eye with his performances at Ajax. Although he's predominantly a midfielder, he has also played in central defence for the Dutch side.
His versatility is an asset, and he looks a good fit for Barcelona. He's comfortable in possession, has great awareness and can make incisive forward passes.
The 21-year-old is also starting to make an impression at international level. He made his debut against Peru during the international break and set up Memphis Depay for the Netherlands' equaliser in a 2-1 win.
Opta noted how strong he was in possession:
100% - Frenkie de Jong completed all of his 21 passes in the opposition half v Peru. Impact.— OptaJohan (@OptaJohan) September 6, 2018
De Jong has emerged as an "absolute priority" for Barcelona. The Spanish champions will try to sign him again next summer, according to Sport's Javier Giraldo.
Ajax do not want to sell but are aware that the midfielder's preference is to move to the Camp Nou, per Marca's Xavi Hernandez.
De Jong has offered Barcelona hope with recent comments. He told Ajax's television channel (h/t Sport) that he would "like to play with Messi one day."
Yet Barcelona are not the only club interested in the midfielder. Tottenham Hotspur had a £45 million bid rejected over the summer, according to Mundo Deportivo (h/t MailOnline's Jordan Seward).
Spurs appear to have a good relationship with Ajax. They have signed Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Davinson Sanchez from the Dutch side.
Ajax look as though they may lose De Jong next summer. However, they will not want to lose their prized asset cheaply, and Barcelona will have to up their offer if they are to capture the midfielder.