Real Madrid remain confident of signing David Alaba on a free transfer next summer, though will not be tempted into a bidding war for his services before January.
The versatile left-sided Alaba is every manager's dream, and the news that he is out of contract at Bayern Munich in 2021 has Europe's biggest clubs falling over each other to bring him in.
Bayern CEO Hasan Salihamidzic has confirmed talks have ceased over a contract extension, and there have been subsequent reports of interest from Barcelona, Juventus, Liverpool, Manchester City and United, to name just a handful.
Real were one of the first clubs to be credited with an interest in Alaba, and AS recently claimed that they view him as a like-for-like replacement for Sergio Ramos, who is also out of contract in June. That always seemed a little fishy, however, considering everything coming out of Real has seemed to exude confidence that Ramos will stay beyond 2021.
Marca's report from Thursday, which claims Los Blancos' desire to sign Alaba is independent of Ramos' situation, seems a touch more realistic. They say Real's interest hasn't wavered and they remain in the running, though the clamour for him from their European rivals will not force them into an early move.
They are said to be 'counting the days' before they can open pre-contract talks, but will not get ahead of themselves out of respect to Bayern, with whom they enjoy a positive working relationship.
Alaba 'wants to play' for Real, apparently, but we've heard that one before - he's 'wanted to play' for Liverpool, City, Barca and Juve at one point or another.
At a time when finances are tight, it's said the Spanish champions won't go over the odds to bring him in. Ramos is currently their highest earner on around €15m per year, and that is the cap that will be applied to any contract negotiations with Alaba.