Tottenham face a battle to retain Mauricio Pochettino's services after Real Madrid reportedly made contact with the ex-Espanyol boss about their managerial position.
Los Blancos are drawing up contingency plans in the event that they sack under-pressure boss Zinedine Zidane, and have earmarked Pochettino as the man to replace the Frenchman in the dugout.
The Daily Mail has alleged that sources close to Real have stated that Pochettino's camp has already been contacted by Real about the potential vacancy, and the Argentine is 'keen' on hearing what they have to say.
Spurs will be desperate to hang on to Pochettino, given the work he has conducted in north London over the past three seasons.
The Lilywhites have finished third and second in the Premier League in 2015/16 and 2016/17 respectively, and are considered dark horses for this term's Champions League thanks to a star-studded lineup headed by the prolific Harry Kane.
Spurs will be under no obligation to let Pochettino leave, however, with the 48-year-old's contract not due to expire until June 2021 and there being no release clause fee in his deal with the club.
(You may also be interested in Spurs Boss Pochettino Comments on Real Managerial Links as Pressure Mounts on Zinedine Zidane)
Real would, therefore, have to stump up a huge compensation package to convince Spurs to let Pochettino leave and, coupled with Zidane's possible contractual pay-off, would be out of pocket by some margin if they did.
Zidane has failed to live up the expectations at Santiago Bernabeu this season after he led Real to a La Liga and Champions League double in the last campaign.
Only fair to let Zidane know he's been fired first #dontchathink— Shakerite (@shakerite66) 26 January 2018
The Spanish giants were knocked out of the Copa del Rey by Leganes on Wednesday, face a tricky last-16 clash with PSG in UEFA's flagship club tournament and find themselves languishing in fourth in the league standings with fierce rivals Barcelona three places and a massive 19 points ahead of them.
It is form that has led to concerns among Real's hierarchy over whether Zidane can motivate his Galacticos to turn their fortunes around and, with Pochettino stating on Friday that 'you never know' when asked about a possible move to Madrid, could look to sever ties with their former superstar.