Barcelona had been linked with Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly more or less since the end of last season, but it appears they will have to turn their attentions elsewhere.
The Senegalese captain has just one year left on his deal at Napoli, meaning a sale or a new contract were always the likely options for him this summer.
The Neapolitans thought they had done enough to tempt him into a new long-term deal, publicly saying so on Sunday. It seems likely those comments were made to pressure either Chelsea or Koulibaly in hindsight.
According to Mundo Deportivo, Koulibaly rejected the offer and Chelsea have swooped in to sign the 31-year-old for €40m. All that is missing is the official confirmation, as Koulibaly becomes one of the best paid defenders in football, earning €10m in net salary. Sport say that Barcelona had asked Koulibaly to hold off on making a decision, but those wishes must have fallen on deaf ears.
Barcelona will have to look to other candidates for central defensive reinforcements in the meantime. It may actually be a benefit to the Catalans in a roundabout way. If they do manage to sign Robert Lewandowski, then Joan Laporta would be investing a considerable amount of money in two excellent players, but both on the wrong side of their thirties. Now the Blaugrana might search for a more long-term option.