Paris Saint-Germain have beaten Manchester United to agree a deal in principle with Real Madrid over a loan deal for Angel di Maria, but must sell Ezequiel Lavezzi before the wing wizard can sign on the dotted line.
That is according to French publication L'Equipe, who believe PSG have finally reached an agreement which allow them to sign the Argentine star permanently for a fee of €65m next summer if he impresses at the Parc des Princes.
Di Maria had been identified by Man United chiefs as a proven commodity at the highest level who was capable of helping the Red Devils earn an instant return to the Champions League, but PSG are a successful side already in the competition and expect to win this transfer tussle before the window slams shut on September 1.
FFP holds up the deal
Despite finding a compromise with Madrid over an initial loan switch PSG will be forced to wait before getting a loan deal for Di Maria signed and sealed, because of the lingering threat of further sanctions from UEFA over Financial Fair Play.
PSG are restricted a net transfer spend of €50m in this transfer window and spent almost exactly the amount on Brazilian defender David Luiz, without any significant departures.
Ivory Coast international Serge Aurier was signed on loan earlier this summer to negate the need to worry about an overspend, but a frustrating delay in finding a suitor for Lavezzi means the Di Maria deal remains tentatively agreed rather than confirmed at this stage.
Man United suffer yet another transfer blow
News of a breakthrough in talks between Madrid and PSG will come as a huge blow to Manchester United, who have chased top midfielders across the continent for much of the summer without managing to land any of their top targets.
Red Devils were within their rights to expect the signings of Ander Herrera and Luke Shaw to be followed up by marquee additions before the start of the season, but lofty asking prices for the likes of Di Maria and Arturo Vidal have held up United's bid to make much-needed additions in key positions.
United will now almost certainly be forced to look elsewhere and are running out time to add any quality to a squad that must earn a return to the Champions League as a minimum requirement this season, with executive vice-president Ed Woodward now under huge pressure to explain why the Red Devils have failed to land their number one transfer target yet again.