Chelsea have won the race to sign Napoli's Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, according to Spanish newspaper AS.
The paper, which has close links to Real Madrid, claims the Bernabeu club's indecision has allowed new Chelsea boss Jose Mourinho to steal a march on his old employers, and reach and agreement with one of Europe's most prolific strikers.
Sources "close to the negotations" have informed AS that Cavani has already reached an agreement with Chelsea on a contract worth €9m a year, including performance targets, and he is now "certain to sign" at Stamford Bridge.
The English club will open talks over Cavani's transfer fee this week.
The only firm offer made for Cavani thus far has come from Manchester City, who bid €50m earlier this summer. However the bid was rejected by Napoli because club bosses believe they can demand more cash for a player who has scored 104 goals in the last three seasons.
Cavani's release clause, which values the player at €63m, expires on 10 August. However Napoli president Antonio De Laurentiis believes he has still has time to secure a transfer fee significantly higher than that proposed by City.
'Constant winks at Madrid'
According to AS, Cavani "wanted to give priority to Madrid", and made this wish known to his intermediaries, who have been sending "constant winks" in the direction of Madrid.
However the uncertainty surrounding Real's new coach, and the club's consequent reluctance to sanction a deal, has left Cavani frustrated, and he has reportedly run out of patience.
If Cavani does move to Chelsea it would represent a major coup for Mourinho, who left Real last month after a disappointing season.
The transfer would also be a major setback for City, who are likely to be in direct competition with Chelsea for the Premier League title next season and have been frantically overhauling their squad this summer.
City have already signed midfielder Fernandinho and winger Jesus Navas, but appear short of strikers after selling Carlos Tevez and Mario Balotelli in the last six months.