Real Madrid will reportedly meet the €24m (£20.6m, $25.6m) release clause of Theo Hernandez to lure the Atletico Madrid left-back to the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of next season. Marca claims Los Blancos have already agreed terms with the French starlet and the shock deal could be finalised in the upcoming mercato.
The 19-year-old is the brother of Atletico Madrid centre-back Lucas Hernandez. Last summer he was linked with moves to Barcelona and Manchester City after garnering a reputation as one of the next big things to emerge from Los Colchoneros' academy.
However, in August Theo decided put an end to those ties by signing a new long-term at the Vicente Calderon until 2021 – while Barcelona signed Lucas Digne from Paris Saint-Germain instead.
Diego Simeone later decided to send the France starlet on loan to Alaves to give him some experience in the top flight.
Theo has since been seen as a long-term replacement for Filipe Luis at Atletico Madrid, having been one of Alaves' leading lights this campaign.
However, last month Cadena Ser broke the news that Real Madrid were ready to battle with Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, Liverpool and Marseille for his services as Zidane wants his compatriot to replace Fabio Coentrao.
And now Marca reports that the France U21 international is ready to make the dramatic cross-city move to Real Madrid during the summer after Los Blancos have earmarked his signing as a priority to back up Marcelo.
The Spanish publication claims Real Madrid have already agreed terms with the player and they will pay his release clause in full to complete the deal – as Atletico won't negotiate with their neighbours at any price.
Marca says Atletico are still hopeful of convincing Theo to change his mind but are quite pessimistic as agent Manuel Garcia Quilon have already informed them about the player's desire to move to the Champions League winners.
Over the weekend Theo himself refused to rule out a potential shock move from Atletico Madrid to Real Madrid during an interview with AS.
"Yes, I've heard [that Real Madrid want me] but I am very calm, it is not the first time that I am linked to a great club. I belong to Atletico."
Pressed whether an Atletico player could ever consider a move to their neighbours, he replied: "I don't know. If it's the best thing for him, to go there, it could be that he has to go. It depends on each one."
And questioned if he would accept a hypothetical offer from Real Madrid if he thought it was the best thing for his career, he added: "No, I am very comfortable and very well at Atletico. Now I am focused on Alaves and we will see what has to come, you will see."
Yet, the promising defender also admitted that during the last summer transfer window he snubbed interest from the likes of Barcelona and City to stay at Atletico and sign a new deal.
"It's true that there were teams that wanted me but I thought about it and the best thing was to stay," he said when asked about the interest from Barcelona and Pep Guardiola's side.
Now Atletico expects that Theo could also turn down the offer from the other La Liga giant as the alternative could end a non-aggression pact between the two Madrid clubs.