Real Madrid have reportedly agreed personal terms with Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara and are set to begin negotiations with the German giants over a summer deal.
It's been reported that Bayern are willing to part ways with Thiago after they signed Leon Goretzka on a free transfer this summer, and Die Roten boss Niko Kovac would be open to selling the former Barcelona star for the right fee.
New Real manager Julen Lopetegui utilised Thiago prominently when he was boss of Spain's national team, and it appears the playmaker would be willing to put his former Camp Nou loyalties aside to join their Clasico rivals.
Sportswriter Roy Nemer commented on the move as something of a betrayal on the Spaniard's part, questioning why Thiago wouldn't opt to join one of Europe's other giants if he was looking to leave Bavaria:
Jordi Gil of Sport wrote that Barcelona's new sporting director, Eric Abidal, and manager Ernesto Valverde each agreed Barca need an elite midfielder, while Thiago was eager to return to his roots in Catalonia.
But Barca have instead invested their funds elsewhere strengthening the midfield this summer. They paid Gremio a reported €30 million (plus add-ons) for Arthur Melo and have already signed one Bayern midfielder in Arturo Vidal, who reportedly cost around €20 million (£18 million), per The Independent.
Thiago, 27, has attracted interest from other top clubs this summer, and journalist Samuel Luckhurst remarked upon Manchester United's revived links, although the Premier League transfer window is now closed:
The playmaker left Barca for Bayern under surprising circumstances in 2013, when he was highly tipped for stardom but had no clear route into the Blaugrana's XI with stars such as Xavi and Andres Iniesta still present.
Fan account La Masia indicated how Thiago's openness to joining such a bitter rival was perhaps telegraphed, however:
He could now follow the likes of Luis Figo and Ronaldo in hopping from Catalonia to Madrid to represent both halves of El Clasico, although the two sides agreeing over a fee is one substantial hurdle left to climb.