Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti says that Angel Di Maria is leaving the La Liga giants -- so a move to Manchester United for around 80 million euros is now likely to be completed in the coming days.
Di Maria's future has been a huge talking point around the Bernabeu all summer, with club president Florentino Perez apparently keen to sell to at least partially balance the books after spending the same amount on World Cup star James Rodriguez from Monaco.
Ancelotti had at first appeared keen to hang on to a player who was so important to Madrid winning the Champions League and Copa del Rey trophies last season, but changed his perspective last week when he claimed that Di Maria himself was now trying to force a move away.
ALL-TIME HIGHEST TRANSFER FEES
1) £85m Gareth Bale -- Tottenham to Real Madrid, Sept. 2013
2) £80m Cristiano Ronaldo -- Man Utd to R. Madrid, June 2009
3) £75m Luis Suarez -- Liverpool to Barcelona, July 2014
4) £71m James Rodriguez -- Monaco to Real Madrid, July 2014
5) £59.7m Angel Di Maria -- Real Madrid to Man Utd, Aug. 2014
6) £56m Kaka -- AC Milan to Real Madrid, June 2009
ESPN sources have learned that Manchester United are close to agreeing a fee, but that Real Madrid want the same deal as they paid for James: 75 million euros, plus five million euros in incentives.
Still, Ancelotti revealed that a transfer is so close to completion that Di Maria had already said goodbye to his soon to be former Blancos teammates.
"[Di Maria] came in, but this morning he did not train," Ancelotti said. "It is not fully done, but he is close to a transfer. He came to say goodbye. We thanked him for what he has done for this team and we wished him luck for the future. It is not official, but it is resolved."
Ancelotti -- who fought hard to keep Di Maria through last season and kept playing him even after the player thrust his crotch at Madrid fans whistling him at the Bernabeu -- said the club had done everything possible to keep the player but the Argentina international had himself decided to go.
"I have a very good relationship with him," he said. "It was his own decision, the club did everything possible, offering him all that he could get here. He has decided something else, so we wish him much luck."
Di Maria's unhappiness at Madrid is thought to stem from him not receiving sufficient recognition from Perez for his contributions through recent seasons. AS report that the player was last season on about 3.5 million euros a year, putting him outside the 'top 10' of the club's best paid players.
The sports daily say he was offered about five million euros to stay this summer, while United made an offer of eight million euros to his agent Jorge Mendes.
Miguel Delaney also contributed to this report