Manchester United, Chelsea & Arsenal are all set to miss out on Atletico Madrid starlet Saul Niguez after it was revealed that Barcelona have first option on the player.
Spanish newspaper AS have reported that Barcelona were given first option on the 19-year-old as part of the deal that saw David Villa move to the Vicente Calderón Stadium in the summer.
Such an instance may go some way to explaining the nominal fee, believed to be around £4.5m.
Given Barcelona's stature in the game, it is inconceivable that the young midfielder would reject advances from the Nou Camp, leaving Manchester United, Arsenal and Chelsea at an impasse with regards to his availability.
Manchester United reportedly sent Phil Neville to Rayo Vallecano's game against Getafe at the weekend, where Niguez is currently enjoying a fruitful loan spell.
Niguez played the full 90 minutes, putting in a solid display that no doubt impressed the Old Trafford legend.
The news of interest from the Red Devils followed reports on Sunday that both Arsenal and Chelsea were interested in the Spanish under-21 international.
The Sunday Mirror went as far as saying Arsene Wenger had already been in contact with Atletico over Niguez's availability while Jose Mourinho has dispatched scouts to watch him numerous times this season.