Real Madrid are preparing to swoop for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, with the Spanish club willing to offer €100 million-plus (£92m/$112m) as an opening bid.
A possible return to Barcelona now looks to have collapsed, with Philippe Coutinho having rejected the opportunity to make a loan move to Tottenham.
Barca have been actively trying to raise funds through player sales and reduce their wage bill in order to stay within the parameters of financial fair play as they hoped to bring the wantaway star back to Camp Nou.
Indeed, Goal reported on Wednesday that Coutinho had been offered to Spurs on loan in a bid to get the former Liverpool man’s sizeable salary off the books and free up enough money to cover Neymar’s wage.
The Blaugrana had even received positive signals from PSG over a one-season loan move for Neymar with an obligation to buy, but Coutinho’s refusal to join Spurs has all but ended the Liga champions’ hopes.
No further business is now expected to happen at Barca – barring any major developments – other than the potential sale of Rafinha, who could wrap up a move to Valencia or Fiorentina before the Spanish window closes.
Madrid, meanwhile, are ready to take advantage of their eternal rivals’ financial issues and make an approach of their own for Neymar, with sources close to the club telling Goal that Los Blancos believe a deal is feasible.
President Florentino Perez is willing to enter negotiations with the Ligue 1 champions and table an opening bid in excess of €100m, while Neymar would be offered a five-year contract with an annual salary of €25m (£23/$28m) per season.
Sources have also told Goal that there is even the possibility of a player being included as part of the offer, with Luka Modric having been suggested.
PSG are, however, unlikely to consider accepting the offer, given they were initially adamant that Barca meet their €222m-plus (£200m/$249m) demands, before eventually being open to negotiations over a loan move with a purchase obligation.
The player himself may need some convincing, meanwhile, with the Brazilian so clearly keen for a reunion with Lionel Messi and Co.
But, after a summer of speculation regarding his future and his desire to quit PSG, he could well agree to join Madrid – with Perez having previously tried to sign the 27-year-old on more than one occasion.
Having already signed Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic, Eder Militao, Rodrygo and Ferland Mendy, Madrid’s summer spending currently sits above the £270m ($328m) mark as they seek to overhaul a squad that hugely underperformed last season.
Meanwhile, Gareth Bale’s situation is no clearer, with the Welshman frozen out of the squad by Zinedine Zidane and having previously missed out on a move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning.
James Rodriguez is another the club are looking to sell, with both Napoli and Atletico Madrid keen on bringing in the Colombia international.