Barcelona were pleased with themselves last summer when they refused to give Chelsea and Willian what they were asking for and went out and bought Malcom for £38million instead.
They had gazumped Roma, whose fans had gone to the airport to welcome the player only to learn he had rerouted to sign a five-year deal at Barcelona instead.
But Barca are not so happy now five months into his first season and it's why the prospect of moving Malcom to Chelsea and ending with the player they wanted in the first place, Willian, raised some eyebrows at the Nou Camp.
Chelsea, however, have rejected the idea of including Malcom in any deal and their desire for a cash-only transfer gives Barcelona a problem because if they cannot shift the under-performing Brazilian they have no room for his compatriot.
Malcom made a rare start for Barcelona in the Copa del Rey on Thursday night but missed a first-half sitter, played poorly and was given a match rating of zero by Diario AS.
If they can move him on in this window then attention may turn to 30-year-old Willian, who has just 18 months left on his current deal. Barcelona could be interested in a cut-price deal, opening up the possibility of getting a couple of seasons out of the Brazil international and then cashing in by selling him to China.
Chelsea rejected offers going up to £65m in July for Willian but would accept a lower bid now.
If he signs he would not find first-team minutes easy. Barcelona are currently favouring a 4-3-3 with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele from right to left in attack and Ivan Rakitic, Sergio Busquets and Arturo Vidal from right to left in midfield.
Displacing Messi or the in-form Dembele would be tough but Willian could fit into midfield, although the competition with fellow Brazilians Arthur Melo and Philippe Coutinho would also be intense.
Ernesto Valverde would welcome the added experience as he tries to win three trophies in what may well be his final season at the club. He has not signed an extension to his current deal, which runs out this summer.
The hunt for three trophies could soon be a hunt for two after Thursday night’s cup reverse. Barcelona were beaten 2-1 away at Levante in the first leg of their last 16 game.
Arsenal target Denis Suarez saved them by winning a penalty late on, which Coutinho – enjoying an increasingly rare start – buried past Aitor Fernandez. Barcelona’s transfer activity could be influenced by the result of next week’s second leg.
If they turn the tie around and stay in the competition they will be more inclined to make more January additions.
If they lose striker Munir to Sevilla they may even move to bring in a centre forward as cover for Suarez. The club have considered making a bid for Alvaro Morata but believe he does not fit the profile of someone who will have to play second fiddle to the Uruguayan.