Real Madrid legend Luka Modric could be close to joining AC Milan after his agent reportedly met with the Serie A club’s representatives.
But Real boss Zinedine Zidane would still prefer to offload under-achievers like Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez.
And Zidane would be reluctant to depart with playmaker Modric, 33, the key man in Croatia’s run to last summer’s World Cup final.
But Sky Sports say Milan’s interest has been ratcheted up as Modric’s agent Vlado Lemic flew to the Italian city for talks.
Modric’s annual wages of around £10.8million would be a huge obstacle, though.
And even if the ex-Spurs midfielder is keen on one last lucrative contract, he was undoubtedly Real’s best player for most of last term.
Zidane would far rather clear the decks of more frustrating talents such as Welshman Bale, Colombian James Rodriguez, Isco, Marco Asensio and Lucas Vazquez.
Spain midfielder Dani Ceballos is thought to be another contender for the exit door, with a loan move to Arsenal one possibility mooted.
Nonetheless, AS suggested in May Zidane was worried Modric showed signs of finally slowing down in the closing weeks of the campaign.
So he is not part of the major overhaul Zidane is plotting.
Real are also still keen on Manchester United’s Paul Pogba, with Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen another option.
That has only encouraged Milan to step up their pursuit of Modric.