Ansu Fati's Barcelona contract negotiations are being held up by super-agent Jorge Mendes who has demands relating to the wonderkid's release clause and the length of a new deal.
Fati made his first La Liga start in nearly a year for Barcelona, scoring as his side came from behind to beat Valencia 3-1 at Camp Nou on Sunday.
After a flying return to the first-team following serious injury, the 18-year-old's contract re-negotiation position has never been stronger - a standpoint furthered by Barça's inability to spend big on replacements.
Even more so than the likes of Pedri and Gavi, Fati - who inherited Lionel Messi's number 10 shirt this summer - is seen as the future of a new-look Barcelona forced into transition by the financial mess. The Spain forward's current deal expires next year, with many of Europe's big hitters watching on for developments.
While Pedri agreed a new deal that will run until 2026 - and features an eyebrow-raising €1bn release clause - things may not be quite so straightforward in Fati's talks.
Mundo Deportivo had claimed that Barcelona wanted to announce Fati's extension ahead of El Clásico next weekend, giving the club some much-needed good news to celebrate. However, a report from the Catalan digital outlet El Nacional has claimed that Fati's agent is holding up the announcement, with negotiations 'not going well at all'.
While Fati only has eyes for Barça, Mendes is keen that certain demands are met for a player he sees as a global superstar (and cash cow).
One is that Fati only sign a two-year extension taking his deal up to 2024, before terms are then re-negotiated. The other is that the deal features a release clause much lower than Pedri's €1bn.
According to El Nacional, while Fati does want to stay and become a leader at Barça, he also needs an 'escape route' should the project fall apart - which considering the amount of pigeon droppings currently falling from the rafters at Camp Nou does not seem like an unreasonable insurance policy.
Understandably from Barcelona's perspective, both of these demands have made the club uncomfortable, supposedly leading Mendes to 'paralyse negotiations'.
Despite the roadblocks, it is understood that Fati has little to no desire to actually leave Barcelona (pigeon droppings or not). A report from Mundo Deportivo last week claimed that the teenager has given Mendes explicit instructions with the words: 'only Barça' - thereby ruling out the possibility of running down his contract to have his pick of suitors for next summer.
It seems then that Fati will eventually re-sign, but finding terms that suit player, club and agent remains a tricky jigsaw.