Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho on Friday hinted goalkeeper David De Gea could be prepared to stay at the club for the foreseeable future.
The Spanish No. 1 has been consistently linked with a big-money move back to La Liga in recent years, with Real Madrid notably failing to sign the player after a lengthy chase in 2015.
Mourinho addressed a number of subjects in his pre-match press conference for the FA Cup quarter-final tie against Brighton & Hove Albion on Saturday, and he suggested De Gea will be at United next term as he defended his managerial tenure at the Theatre of Dreams.
The United manager told reporters: "One day when I leave, the next Manchester United manager will find here [Romelu] Lukaku, [Nemanja] Matic, of course De Gea from many years ago. They will find players with a different mentality, quality, different background, with a different status, different know-how."
Mourinho added he has no intention of quitting his job in the immediate future, giving United fans hope De Gea will commit his future to the Premier League giants.
However, fresh reports suggest De Gea could be tempted to join Real after United crashed out of the UEFA Champions League at the hands of Sevilla.
Alberto Pinero and Kris Voakes of Goal reported De Gea could "cut ties" with the Red Devils as he contemplates his future beyond the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
Per Voakes, United are set to offer the stopper £275,000 per week to retain his services, with Real content with incumbent goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
"As long as United can convince De Gea that they are continuing to strive for the kind of success he craves, it would appear that there is little chance of him leaving Old Trafford this summer. Now it is just a case of delivering the kind of results that can persuade both their star goalkeeper and the outside world that they are ready to become a giant once more."
De Gea suffered tough spells early in his United career, but he has become one of the best goalkeepers in the world during his seven years with the club.
Mourinho will not be able to buy a better 'keeper if he cannot retain De Gea, and United should move mountains to stop his head being turned by a prospective return to the city of his birth.
Real remain the glamour destination in Spain, and if Los Blancos make a serious approach, De Ge could be tempted to leave Old Trafford.