Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane has refused to rule out the eventual signing of Lyon's Houssem Aouar, though concedes further additions to his squad before Monday's deadline are unlikely. A conflicting report, meanwhile, claims Madrid are prepared to offer Mariano Diaz in an equally unlikely part-exchange deal.
Lyon midfielder Aouar has been highly sought-after throughout the extended transfer window, with Arsenal, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus all realistically hopeful of a deal at one point or another. Club president Jean-Michel Aulas has been playing hard to get, however, and set a deadline of Saturday morning for transfers to be finalised.
With that self-imposed deadline now passed, French media reported that the club would not now sell Aouar, or captain Memphis Depay, until January at the earliest. Claims that he could join Real Madrid at the last minute, then, seem fanciful.
AS, however, believe that a deal could still be struck, with Mariano Diaz going in the other direction. Real would pay €20m in this proposed transfer, which they say Lyon would be happy to take, given that Mariano scored 21 goals in 48 games in his previous spell with the French club.
Even Zidane, who is admittedly a big fan of his countryman, admits a deal is unlikely before Monday's deadline.
"I don't know what information you have," he told reporters, per Marca, when asked about Aouar. "He is a great player, without a doubt I know, and maybe one day he will be able to play for Madrid, but now there is this squad and we are going to start with this ".
It's unclear what sort of fee Lyon want to allow Aouar to leave, with reports in France suggesting something in the region of €50m. The preference, however, is not to sell this late in the window.
Arsenal, the main contender as far as the UK press are concerned, are reported to have turned their attentions to Chelsea's Jorginho, who they want to sign on a loan deal. A whole load of unlikely transfer talk here, and deadline day hasn't even started yet.