Barcelona have reportedly submitted a second transfer bid for Chelsea attacker Willian.
Chelsea rejected a £50million offer, but Barcelona have now returned with an improved bid.
Manchester United want to sign Willian and reunite the Brazilian with Jose Mourinho, but hopes seem to be fading after Barcelona stepped up their pursuit.
Sky Sports claim Barcelona have lodged a £52m bid and talks will continue between both clubs.
Willian prefers a move to Barcelona over a switch within the Premier League and the player’s wishes may be key to the outcome of United’s efforts to land the forward.
United have been tracking Willian since January, while Barcelona first made contact with Chelsea three months ago.
Willian is free to resolve his club future after Brazil’s exit from the World Cup in Russia.
Brazil were knocked out in the quarter-finals by Belgium, but Willian’s performances at the tournament did not go unnoticed.
Mourinho kept a close eye on proceedings in Russia working as an analyst for Russia Today, before returning to Carrington to kick off United’s pre-season this week.
Chelsea too have begun their preparations for the new season, but Willian has been given extra time off after his World Cup exploits.
Barcelona’s and United’s efforts to sign Willian may be complicated by the impending appointment of Maurizio Sarri as the Blues’ new head coach.
Sarri is set to replace the sacked Antonio Conte, and has reportedly told Chelsea Willian is not to be sold under any circumstances.