Real Madrid supporters have voted against making a €190 million (£144 million) bid to sign Barcelona star Neymar. Meanwhile, the two Spanish giants are expected to compete in a four-way tug-of-war to land Everton centre-back John Stones this summer.
Readers of Madrid-based newspaper Marca were asked if they'd be willing to spend that world-record sum on the signature of Neymar, but while 48.09 percent said they would, 51.91 percent insisted on not forking out.
The margin is clearly small, but it's something of a surprise that such a high percentage of Madrid's fanbase would not be keen to steal one of their rivals' top stars.
The fee mentioned is the supposed value of Neymar's Barca release clause, and Marca previously reported Los Blancos president Florentino Perez was "ready" to make the Brazilian his next massive expenditure (h/t Goal's Chris Davie).
In moving from the Camp Nou to the Bernabeu, Neymar would follow in the footsteps of Luis Figo, another footballing great who represented both sides of the El Clasico derby and was dubbed a "traitor" after leaving Barca.
Whether Real want to complete the ground-breaking deal isn't the only concern, however, after the forward's father, Neymar Sr., told Spanish television channel Cuatro his son isn't interested in the switch (h/t Tomas Andreu of Sport):
"Real Madrid?! We have no interest. What media has said that? Marca? Where is it [the story]? The only thing I ask if for a little peace and to stop talking. My son’s intention is to continue [at Barca]…and that’s that."
One can hardly blame the South American star for wanting to remain in Catalonia, with Neymar having just finished on the Ballon d'Or podium for the first time in his career, winning a treble in just his second season at Barca.
Blaugrana manager Luis Enrique will assuredly want to keep his star, too, whom ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan recently highlighted as an increasingly important piece of the Barcelona jigsaw:
Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan
Pique missing big issue for sure but also... Barca have only won two of the seven games Neymar has not been involved in this season.2016-1-23 15:54:36
In terms of players Enrique may look to add to his options in the months to come, Everton centre-back Stones is said to rank highly, but competition from Real, Chelsea and Manchester City will prove hard to overcome.
That's according to the Mail on Sunday's Rob Draper, who reported both Spanish giants are hoping to win the £50 million race for England's rising stalwart this summer. However, talkSPORT's Ian Abrahams alleged Chelsea will look to cut a deal for Stones before January is over:
Ian Abrahams (Moose) @BroadcastMoose
.@Everton & @ChelseaFC fans just when you thought this was over, hearing rumours Chelsea will make another bid to sign John Stones next week2016-1-21 20:18:45
Draper mentioned Real's two-window transfer ban could prevent them from launching a bid for the player, but Los Blancos are hopeful their appeal will see the embargo suspended, allowing them to recruit later in 2016.
Stones was linked with Chelsea last summer, but he remained on Merseyside and has boosted his reputation as a Premier League force even further. The Telegraph's Sam Wallace recently hailed the talents of Everton's most prized possession:
Sam Wallace @SamWallaceTel
John Stones a compulsive risk-taker by central defender standards, but with the talent to do so & great to watch. Hope I haven't jinxed him2016-1-16 15:48:06
Barca already have the likes of Gerard Pique and Javier Mascherano guarding their back line, but with Thomas Vermaelen's injury woes ongoing and Jeremy Mathieu turning 33 this year, reinforcements may not go astray.
Stones, 21, is regarded as one of the most promising talents in England's top flight at present, but reigning European champions Barcelona may struggle to take the defender away from the comfort of his native land.