Manchester City are prepared to fight Real Madrid to the last moment for the signature of Kylian Mbappe after reports suggested that a £143m offer had been tabled.
The Daily Mirror has alleged that manager Pep Guardiola has instructed the club's owners to launch a spectacular assault for the Monaco wonderkid after Real themselves reportedly made a £161m world-record bid for the striker.
However, counter claims from the Daily Star have suggested that City will lose out in any battle for the 18-year-old, with Mbappe having his heart set on a switch to the Santiago Bernabeu if Monaco decide to sell yet another of their title-winning squad from last term.
Mbappe update🚨— Sam Lee (@Sammy_Goal) July 25, 2017
City have made an official approach & are awaiting Monaco's response.
City also think Madrid need to sell Bale to United.
To further complicate matters, sources within City's camp have already moved to dispute claims of their astronomical bid, while Monaco themselves have also flat out denied that they have received any offer from Los Blancos for Mbappe's services.
City's chief executive Ferran Soriano is believed to be in Monaco to hold talks with the club's vice-president Vadim Vasilyev about Mbappe's availability, but it could well be that he is merely attempting to smooth over relations between the two parties.
City were alleged to be one of the four clubs that Monaco claimed had illegally tapped Mbappe up earlier in July, and Soriano may be in the south of France to try and open direct lines of communication to butter the Ligue 1 giants up ahead of an official move for Mbappe.
Real, though, are still in pole position to acquire one of the world's hottest prospects and the La Liga champions will be confident of seeing off Guardiola's team for the France international.
Zinedine Zidane had been told that Real would only sanction a move for Mbappe once one of his strikers had been sold. With Alvaro Morata now out following a £60m switch to Chelsea, the club's hierarchy appear to have greenlit Zidane's request.
The Frenchman wants to add another attacker to his current ranks to provide competition for Cristiano Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale, and it wouldn't be surprising to see Mbappe head to Spain before the window closes in September following protracted rumours of him doing so all summer long.