Manchester United are preparing to open talks with Tottenham Hotspur over a deal for Hugo Lloris after they admitted defeat in their battle to keep David de Gea, reports the Daily Star's chief football correspondent Jeremy Cross.
The respected journalist, known for his regular appearances on Sky Sports' Sunday Supplement, suggests that the France international is Louis van Gaal's first choice to replace the Spaniard.
A source close to De Gea confirmed on Tuesday afternoon that a deal to take him to Real Madrid was almost agreed.
With just 12 months left on his current contract at Old Trafford, Manchester United have been left with little choice but to let him leave after he refused to sign the £200,000-a-week deal on offer.
Now Rafa Benitez has been appointed at the Bernabeu, a deal in the region of £30m is expected to go through and Manchester United have now set about signing his successor.
They see Lloris, who has long been considered one of Tottenham's best players, as a key target and are ready to open a dialogue with officials at White Hart Lane over a deal.
He will not come cheap, however, with Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy expected to demand £35m to part ways with the goalkeeper.
Now 28, Lloris would be a long-term replacement for De Gea, but the fee would be a world-record for a goalkeeper, currently held by Gianluigi Buffon at £32.5m.
The release clause
Whether Manchester United would be willing to pay such a fee is another thing, but with £150m to spend in the summer, Levy is ready to squeeze every penny out of Old Trafford.
Tentative reports have claimed that Lloris has a £14m release clause in his contract that became active after Tottenham failed to qualify for the Champions League, but that has since been denied by the player himself.
However, he has made it clear that he would like to play Champions League football in the near future, ideally with Tottenham, but the widening gap between them and the top four must be a concern for the Frenchman.
Lloris is one of few world-class goalkeepers that are currently not playing for a Champions League club and, as a result, would be a good option for the Red Devils.
However, there is also believed to be eyes on Chelsea star Petr Cech, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge this summer and could be available for around £10m.
There is also something to be said for Victor Valdes, who signed for Manchester United in January but made just one appearance before the end of the season.
The former Barcelona man will certainly expect to get a chance to stake a claim for the No.1 jersey.
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