Real Madrid are confident that Kylian Mbappe is willing to take the necessary pay-cut to join them, after Le Parisien reported he had told Paris Saint Germain he will not be staying with them beyond the end of this season.
Some Madrid fans welcomed the news with caution. There have been plenty of false dawns in the club's seven-year pursuit of the now 25-year-old forward.
But the feeling is that he has grown tired of playing in the French league, currently struggling to raise offers for a new television deal, and that Madrid is his preferred destination.
PSG have denied the player has told them he has decided his future but it's an open secret he has shown no interest in negotiating a new deal beyond the end of this season when his contract runs out.
Madrid have changed tactics regarding landing the World Cup winner largely because of the progression of Vinicius and the spectacular first season of Jude Bellingham. If Mbappe signs he will have to fit into a club that already has two global superstars to take it into the next 10 years.
But the decision to walk away from PSG tells Madrid he is willing to negotiate his switch to Spain.
The Spanish club remain adamant they will not smash their current wage structure to pay him the 25m euros net he earns in Paris.
Madrid's top earners going into next season will be Vinicius and Bellingham on deals that see them clear closer to 12m euros with incremental rises factored into their contracts in the coming seasons.
But the club could still offer the player's mother Fayza Lamari a contract that will make her son Madrid's top earner. And there are various means of boosting his earning in Spain without putting him on a salary that would double what Bellingham and Vinicius earn.
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