Manchester City and England star Raheem Sterling has gone behind Pep Guardiola's back in order to hold secret transfer talks with Real Madrid's president Florentino Perez, according to sensationalist Spanish news outlet Don Balon.
Real Madrid are allegedly keen admirers of the 23-year-old midfielder who completed a switch to the Etihad Stadium from Liverpool in 2015 for a fee close to £50m.
Since completing his move from the Reds, Sterling has seen a significant improvement in his game, developing into an exceptional player under Pep Guardiola and playing a key role in City's wildly successful 2017/18 season.
It will come to the surprise of many then, that the England star is reportedly looking for a way out of Manchester as Real Madrid look to replace former Premier League star, Gareth Bale.
Sterling's pace and dribbling ability make him the ideal candidate to replace Bale at the Santiago Bernabeu, with the England international having scored 20 goals and made 10 assists from 36 appearances so far this season.
Manchester City have enjoyed a season of unprecedented success this year, running away with the league, claiming the League Cup following an impressive 3-0 win over Arsenal and all but qualifying for the quarter finals of the Champions League after beating FC Basel 4-0 at St Jakob Park.
However, in spite of City being in contention for completing the treble, Sterling has stalled contract talks at the Etihad amid the apparent interest from Real Madrid.
Sterling is currently contracted with Manchester City until 2020 however, should he refuse to renew his contract at the Etihad Stadium, Los Blancos would be keen to make him the first England make to make the switch from the Premier League to Real Madrid since Michael Owen in 2004.