Paul Pogba's impending move back to Manchester has widely been viewed as a formality for the last couple of weeks.
Apparently nobody told Zinedine Zidane, who spoke in America last night about his 23-year-old compatriot, of whom he's an open admirer.
Goal.com report that Zidane said of a potential Real Madrid move for the Juventus midfielder:
In this moment we are still working [on a move for Pogba], and I cannot say anything more.
Naturally, Zidane went on to say more:
Until August 31st anything can happen, but today he is not a Real Madrid player and I cannot talk about what will happen.
I always say how things are, but now is not the time to talk about this. A lot of clubs are interested in Pogba. Real Madrid always want the best players. But we owe Juventus respect, and I can't say anything more out of respect.
It had been presumed that Real Madrid were keeping an eye on the player's potential move back to Old Trafford but weren't willing to match United's astronomical offer, which - all inclusive - could wind up costing a cool quarter of a billion euro.
Zidane's comments indicate he is more keen for Pogba to mirror his own career in ditching Turin for Madrid than his employers would suggest. And this is Real Madrid we're talking about; going on record to state an interest in a player and failing to land said player is a big no-no, and so one would assume Zidane remains quietly confident of putting a kibosh on Pogba's reported move to Old Trafford and luring him to the Bernabeu.
Whether or not Real Madrid would be willing to pay a skull-bashingly stupid fee to Pogba's agent Mino Raiola remains to be seen.
There's an inevitability to this, though, isn't there? Surely even United fans would be forced to laugh - albeit ruefully - if their nightmarish Spanish cousins broke their hearts once more.