But Barcelona made a late offer anyway and on Tuesday announced they had agreed terms to land Malcom from Bordeaux in a deal worth an initial €41 million, with an additional €1m potentially due in add-ons.
However, the deal was subsequently called off, with Barca having swooped through with a better offer, and the player has since signed a five-year-deal to represent the Catalan giants.
"This is a unique feeling, a unique feeling", he said at Barca's Nou Camp offices on Tuesday. "It is a dream come true since I was young". "I'm part of the best club in the world and I hope to give the fans a lot of joy".
"Bordeaux announce they have reached an agreement with Roma for the transfer of Malcom, subject to the signing of administrative documents", the French club tweeted.
"I informed (Martin) and (Malcom's) agents that Roma were ready to beat Barcelona's offer".
"What happened with Malcom is easy to explain but hard to understand as we'd found an agreement with the agent, the player and Bordeaux", he said.
Reports have suggested that Barcelona see Malcom as an alternative to Willian.
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The flight that was due to take Malcom to Rome for a medical was promptly cancelled, and the former under-20 worldwide was confirmed as a Barca player less than 24 hours later, for a fee believed to be around €41m.
Liverpool's record bid for Roma goalkeeper Alisson was too good to refuse, according to AS Roma's director of football. However, Barcelona again outbid them.
Bordeaux accepted Roma's bid of 32 + 4 but then allowed Barca in with their better offer. "Pallotti made the decision to make the best offer possible but when the negotiation became an auction we chose to withdraw". I'm really looking forward to meeting my team-mates, to talk to them and find out more about the way we play.
"The Brazilian will undergo a medical on Wednesday morning and then directly join the FC Barcelona US Tour", read a statement from the Spanish champions, whose deal for the player includes an extra one million euros in variables.
Malcom, following deals for Arthur Melo and Clement Lenglet, becomes Barca's third signing of the summer.