Real Madrid have moved to make sure Manchester United have no chance of throwing a spanner in the works of their deal for James Rodriguez by agreeing personal terms with the Colombian World Cup star on a five-year contract worth €120,000-a-week, but still need to find common ground on a transfer fee with Monaco.
Rodriguez was nothing short of sensational at the World Cup and scored six goals in four matches to claim Golden Boot award, scintillating form that forced Europe's richest clubs to sit up and take notice.
Madrid make their move
Quite frankly Madrid have an embarrassment of riches in advanced midfield positions, but despite closing a £25m deal for Toni Kroos earlier this week RMC Sport have this afternoon reported that Los Blancos will put Rodriguez among their top earners to continue an effort to match bitter rivals Barcelona in terms of spending power this summer.
The 23-year-old's representative were made a direct offer of a long-term deal worth €8m-a-year once his World Cup commitments had concluded and he has agreed to that salary in principle, but try telling that to Monaco.
Madrid are yet to come anywhere close to Monaco's €80m valuation of a star who shone so brightly in South America, and with the playmaker just one season into a five-year deal with the mega-rich Ligue 1 outfit the completion of this move is far from a formality.
United must move on
Monaco's insistence over an eye-watering £63m price tag for their prized asset had led United to believe they had a chance of persuading the South American that his future lies in the Premier League, but Red Devils chiefs can now see Madrid have an agreement in place with the player and will surely be forced to look elsewhere.
New United chief Van Gaal has taken over at Old Trafford this week and at least knows United have a number of playmakers already at the club that could render a pursuit of Rodriguez redundant if he gets the best out of them, including Juan Mata and Shinji Kagawa.
Madrid meanwhile will need to find a way that Kroos, Rodriguez, Gareth Bale, Cristiano Ronaldo and Karim Benzema all on the pitch at the same time, but only if they can persuade Monaco to part company with perhaps the hottest young talent in world football.
Los Blancos chiefs believe a deal is imminent though and making plans to build a side with Rodriguez in next season, which when you consider that Barcelona will have Luis Suarez partnered with Neymar and Lionel Messi next season makes La Liga and El Classico in particular a mouth-watering prospect moving forward.