Twelve months ago, if you would have said Moussa Sissoko was going to be heavily linked with a £35 million move to Real Madrid, no one would have believed you.
But in a summer where we might just witness the first £100 million transfer in history, the speculation connecting Sissoko with the Spanish giants just seems another run of the mill story.
Reports earlier this week suggested Madrid had pulled out of the race to sign the Frenchman, however, the Newcastle midfielder hasn't given up on a move to La Liga just yet.
Sissoko did not feature in Newcastle's opening day defeat to Fulham in the Championship on Friday night and has finally responded to the rumours linking him with the Champions League winners.
In an interview with the French publication, L'Equipe, Sissoko said: "Who would not be flattered by the interest of the best clubs in the world?
"It's simple - when you are young and you start playing football, your dream is to become a professional and play for a club like Real or Manchester United.
"I have worked my way up and if a club like Real comes to me, it will be something huge. It is difficult to reject a club like Real, although you still have to think carefully to make the best decision possible."
The ex-Toulouse midfielder has been at St. James' Park since 2013 but as soon as Newcastle's relegation from the Premier League was confirmed in May it looked unlikely Sissoko would stay beyond the summer.
However, the club's £35 million price tag has put plenty of interested parties off a move for the Frenchman who rose to prominence during Euro 2016.
Sissoko has also revealed his admiration for Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane but will consider other offers should a deal with Los Blancos fail to materialise - highlighting his desire to play in the Champions League.
He added: "[Being coached by Zinedine Zidane] could be something fantastic, but that is not the case today. Everyone knows Zidane, his career, the man he is and the coach he is becoming. This is a great person in the world of football.
"Now I wait to see if this is really feasible before I think about it and make a decision. I know there are a lot of interested clubs. So we will take all the options into account before making the best choice possible. We will see what happens.
"Since the beginning of my career, I didn't have the opportunity to play Champions League matches and I have a real desire to discover this competition."
Rafael Benitez has made no secret of his desire to keep Sissoko at Newcastle and after his side - who are favourites to be promoted this season - lost their opening fixture, the Spaniard will be even more reluctant to let Sissoko depart.
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