Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has reached out to Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in a bid to close a deal for Spanish strike starlet Alvaro Morata, according to The Mirror.
Morata is viewed by Wenger as a forward with a bright future capable of making sure Olivier Giroud has genuine quality competition for a starting spot in attack next season, but Arsenal are unwilling to meet Madrid's £25m valuation for a straight cash deal.
Madrid are willing to compromise on the price if it means they can retain a buy-back clause on the Spanish under-21 international covering the next three seasons, a clause Wenger is hugely reluctant to go along an agreement he feels would leave a constant doubt over the player's long-term future.
Wenger has attempted to find a compromise in negotiations by directly contacting Zidane, in the hope he will agree Morata's development will be best served by a fresh start and regular first-team football in the Premier League.
Juventus are currently the only club to register a concrete offer for Madrid with Morata, but their £12m bid was swiftly rejected and falls some way short of the Champions League winners' lofty valuation of the 21-year-old.
Frustratingly for Wenger he must now play a waiting game to see if his intervention produces a positive result, with the race on between Arsenal, Juve and Bundesliga giants Wolfsburg to agree a deal for one of Europe's most coveted young prospects.