Representatives from Barcelona met with Sassuolo to discuss star winger Jeremie Boga this week. However, there are suggestions that the player's former club Chelsea could hijack the deal.
22-year-old Boga has been one of the stars of Serie A this season, scoring four times and providing one assist for Sassuolo.
The French-born Ivory Coast international was part of two FA Youth Cup-winning sides at Chelsea (2014 and 2015) but made only one senior appearance for the Blues before leaving on a permanent deal in the summer of 2018.
Boga - who has also spent time on loan at Granada and Birmingham City - has shone so far in Italy, scoring seven goals in 40 appearances in all competitions, even catching the eyes of Barcelona, according to reports.
Catalan publication SPORT, citing information from Gianluca Di Marzio, claims that
Barça, according to SPORT, have given the Italian side priority on their academy players and have 'first option' on Sassuolo players in the future, including Boga.
Barcelona famously loaned forward Kevin-Prince Boateng from Sassuolo last year.
Various UK reports, however, point out that Boga's £3.5m move from Chelsea to Sassuolo included a 'buy-back clause' of the same price, potentially giving Frank Lampard's side the edge in any transfer battle.
Chelsea can, once again, register new players after their FIFA-imposed transfer ban was reduced to the one window already served. The top four-chasing club are expected to strengthen in the January window, with a replacement for Eden Hazard a possible priority.
Wilfried Zaha has been mooted, although Boga would provide a much cheaper, if less experienced and lower-key alternative.
There is little to no indication in the UK reports that bring news of Chelsea's buy-back option of whether the Blues actually plan to use it, amid possible competition from Barça.
As for Barcelona, a central striker - who can play alongside and eventually succeed Luis Suarez - appears to be the transfer priority, with Inter's Lautaro Martinez apparently a key target in that area.