Real Madrid have reportedly rejected a mammoth £110m ($169m) combined bid from Manchester United for Gareth Bale and Raphael Varane, with the latter also being a target for Chelsea.
According to Tutto Mercato Web, the 10-time European champions are not willing to sell two of their biggest stars, but the Red Devils are unwilling to give up and will return with another offer with David De Gea also part of the deal.
Louis van Gaal has made it clear that he will need to spend big and bring in top quality players to mount a title challenge next season and has been on the trail of the Welshman in recent months.
United are bracing themselves for the departure of their player of the season to Real in the summer, with the Spanish capital club increasingly confident of landing De Gea. But the Red Devils are adamant that the La Liga side part with one of their top players as part of the deal, and the report claims that they want one of Bale or Varane to move the other way.
The former Tottenham winger has been heavily linked with a move back to England in recent months after a disappointing second season with Real, but the player has distanced himself from speculation by claiming that he is looking forward to having a better spell next season.
Varane, on the other hand, has also been linked to Chelsea, with Jose Mourinho keen to be reunited with his former player. The Portuguese manager, who signed the French defender during his stint as Real manager, views him as a long-term replacement for club captain John Terry.
However, the French international defender spoke of his desire to nail down a regular place in the starting XI and win the La Liga title next campaign.
But with Carlo Ancelotti gone and Rafa Benitez being tipped to take over the reins at Real, it remains to be seen if the new manager has plans and targets of his own ahead of the new campaign, which could give United to sign one of the two players as part of the deal that takes De Gea to the Spanish capital.