Real Madrid believes they can finally land David de Gea for £100m.
The European champions have long-targeted the Manchester United No1 - and it’s understood president Florentino Perez accepts he will have to smash the world transfer record if he is ever to lure him to the Bernabeu.
United remain adamant they will not sell their star player - and plan to trigger a one-year option on the contract he signed in 2015 to keep him at Old Trafford until 2020.
De Gea’s own refusal to agitate for a move has also left United’s hierarchy confident they can ward off interest from Real for now. But the failure to tie the 27-year-old down to a new long-term deal before now will strengthen Perez’ belief he can finally take him to the Spanish capital.
United initially began discussing a latest contract extension for De Gea last year.
Real have been monitoring his situation, with Perez openly discussing the prospect of Spain’s No1 becoming the first £100m keeper in history.
Gianluigi Buffon remains the most expensive keeper of all time after Juventus signed him from Parma for 52.88m euros in 2001.
The 40m euros Manchester City paid for Ederson last summer made the Brazilian the second most expensive.
An offer of £100m or 113m euros for De Gea would dwarf both of those fees.
Real’s appointment of Spain coach Julen Lopetegui is seen as another potential lure for De Gea.
It is expected to be another summer of speculation regarding his future - particularly if he stars for Spain at the World Cup.
He has already been questioned by Spanish media about the prospect of a move to Real - and didn't rule it out.
“I don’t think Florentino Pérez has my number,” he told El Partidazo de Cope. “I don’t know if I’ll be the goalkeeper at Real Madrid.
“What I do know is that I’m very happy in Manchester. What I want is to win titles, like every other player.
“There’s no lacking in winning titles there (United) - we have to improve.
“We are a big club, we are not here to take second place. We have to improve and make this club great.”
Real’s pursuit of De Gea looked set to end in January as they closed in on Athletic Bilbao keeper Kepa Arrizabalaga.
But the highly-rated Spaniard opted to sign a new deal with Athletic, prompting Perez into a rethink over a replacement for Keylor Navas.
AC Milan’s Gianluigi Donnarumma is another option, who has also been monitored by United as a potential successor should De Gea leave.