The La Liga champions are desperate to bring in cover for the injured Luis Suarez, but a raid on domestic rivals Real Sociedad is considered unlikely
That is because a side battling to secure European qualification in 2019-20 have no intention of parting with a prized asset at this stage of the season.
Barca had been hoping to see that stance relaxed as they continue to scour the market for attacking reinforcements.
With Luis Suarez and Ousmane Dembele stuck on the sidelines through injury, alternative options at Camp Nou are being sought with a sense of urgency.
Raids on domestic rivals can be completed outside of the defined transfer windows, and that has led the Blaugrana towards Willian Jose.
Barca do not have the funds required to force the issue, though, and spend their way out of a tricky situation.
Getting Willian Jose will, however, not be any easier for the reigning La Liga champions.
The 28-year-old, who was eager to secure a switch over the winter amid intense interest from Premier League heavyweights Tottenham, is tied to a contract which includes a €70 million (£59m/$76m) release clause.
Spurs stopped short of matching that figure and Willian Jose was forced to stay put as a result, despite his best efforts.
Sociedad have been willing to forgive and forget when it comes to their eight-goal frontman.
They now have no intention of allowing an exit door to swing open again, with it difficult for them to land a suitable replacement outside of the standard recruitment windows.
It has been made clear to Barca that the only way a deal could be done is if a big-money offer was put on the table.
Sociedad know that their domestic foes are in no position to do that and will not drop their asking price again, as they did during negotiations with Spurs.
It has been suggested to Goal that La Real will demand considerably more than they were looking for from English suitors.
Relationships between the respective boards of Sociedad and Barcelona are also not the best, which throws another spanner into the works.
The Blaugrana, it would appear, will be forced to turn their attention elsewhere.
Loren Moron of Real Betis remains a more feasible option, with it possible that the €40m (£34m/$44m) clause in his current deal could be worked down.
Getafe forward Angel Rodriguez, who is now 32 years of age, would be an even cheaper option at around €10m (£8m/$11m) and Barca could secure his signature without protracted discussions over price tags.