Difficult for Barcelona to sign Adrien Rabiot this summer - sources

BEAVERTON, Ore. -- Barcelona remain interested in Paris Saint-Germain's Adrien Rabiot but are aware it could prove difficult to sign the midfielder this summer, sources have told ESPN FC.

Rabiot, 23, is into the final year of his contract with PSG but the Ligue 1 champions are reluctant to do business with Barca due to the strained relations between the two clubs following last year's Neymar saga.

Barca's new sporting director Eric Abidal, therefore, travelled to the French capital earlier this month in an attempt to improve the relationship between the clubs.

However, the Catalan side are not optimistic about things changing this summer and may have to wait until next year to sign Rabiot, when he would be available for free if he doesn't sign a new deal in Paris.

PSG have so far refused to open a line of negotiation for Rabiot, who was one of the surprise omissions from France's World Cup winning squad.

Coach Thomas Tuchel would like Rabiot to stay but will leave the final decision with the player himself.

"You can see Adrien's potential -- he still has room to grow," Tuchel said after a recent friendly. "I love this player. I love working with him and his potential is clear to see.

"Regarding Adrien's contract situation, ultimately, it is up to him. He must decide if he wants to commit to us, to our style and to his formative club. Otherwise, he will go for a new challenge."

Ajax's Frenkie de Jong is another central midfielder on Barcelona's radar but the Dutch club's sporting director, Marc Overmars, has said there will be no deal this summer.

Barca have already made three signings since the transfer window opened, with Arthur Melo, Clement Lenglet and Malcom arriving for a combined €108 million.

Speaking at the presentation of Malcom on Thursday, Abidal suggested the club are still working on making a fourth signing, while they're also looking to move other players on.

"A lot of things come out in the press," he said. "We're working on [sales]. We're speaking with the players about what's best for them and for the club. We have to reach agreements which make all parties involved happy."

Rafinha, Andre Gomes, Aleix Vidal and Lucas Digne are among those who could be sold before the season gets underway in August.