Barcelona are plotting a summer 2020 swoop for Napoli midfielder and Spain international Fabian Ruiz, after turning down the chance to sign him multiple times during his time at Real Betis.
Ruiz, who joined Napoli in July 2018 for around £27m, rose up through the youth ranks at Betis, enjoying a breakout season in 2017/18, before joining Carlo Ancelotti's Napoli.
The versatile midfielder was named Golden Player at this summer's European Under-21 Championships and scored the opener in the final as Spain beat Germany 2-1 for the title in Italy.
According to a report from Mundo Deportivo, La Blaugrana are now set to revive their interest in the Spanish starlet ahead of next summer's transfer window.
The club were interested in Ruiz following his loan spell at Elche in 2016/17 and enquired about the possibility of a loan deal for their B team. However, the Betis hierarchy were not keen on the temporary offer, preferring a permanent deal in the region of €6m, a fee Barcelona were not willing to match.
Months later, following a standout performance against Real Madrid for Betis at the Bernabeu, further questions were raised about signing Ruiz, this time at his €15m release clause price, but again he was overlooked by the big clubs.
Sensing his potential, the Sevillan club raised his buyout clause to €30m, the fee that Barça baulked at in 2018 but Napoli coughed up.
After a year in Naples - in which Ruiz has made 42 appearances, scoring seven goals and registering three assists, as well as become a fully-fledged Spain international - the Catalan side are now back in the fold.
gbeng— 90min (@90min_Football) September 9, 2019
Which front three gets your pick? pic.twitter.com/Xh8dua0yZ6
With Sergio Busquets recently claiming Ruiz and Frenkie de Jong will become the best in their position, this is perhaps understandable, as is Aurelio de Laurentiis' subsequent valuation of €60m - 10 times that original figure quoted all those years ago.
The 23-year-old, who has also been linked Paris Saint-Germain, is reportedly on the verge of a new contract at Napoli after a fine first season in Italy.