Real Madrid has made an initial move for Paul Pogba, as it is understood intermediaries are now discussing a potential deal for the Manchester United star.
The 26-year-old actively wants to leave for the Bernabeu in this window and is one of the main summer targets of Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, who so wants Pogba he has agreed to compromise on preferred number-one Keylor Navas.
Zidane has agreed to sell the Costa Rican, to try and aid and fund the purchase of Pogba.
United’s preference has always been to keep Pogba, but a number of factors - from lesser commercial value than anticipated to his influence on the dressing room - have made them more open to a potential sale.
The Old Trafford hierarchy would want well in excess of £150m, but that is just one of many factors set to make this one of the sagas of the summer.
The first is that Pogba’s agent Mino Raiola is now suspended by Fifa until 9 August, the day after the closure of the Premier League window. That will likely mean any signing will be delayed until the end of the summer if a deal can be struck.
While Zidane is intent on Pogba, meanwhile, the Bernabeu hierarchy is less sold on the player’s influence and more interested in Tottenham Hotspur’s Christian Eriksen.
It is understood that Zidane’s willingness to let Navas go might have solved this, though, especially as he has previously preferred the Costa Rican to Thibaut Courtois.
Madrid wants to make Courtois their marquee number-one, so concession on this sees them more willing to back the purchase of Pogba.
The midfielder’s wage demands, however, could yet prove the biggest obstacle of all. Pogba wants to be made the highest-paid player in the world, which could involve a basic wage of up to £500,000.
That would make Madrid balk since they would struggle to fund both the price of the purchase and such a salary.