British tabloid the Daily Mirror state that Premier League money-men Manchester City will offer a world record amount for Liverpool forward Fernando Torres in January.
The Blues' Arab owners are thought to be ready to offer £50 million (€57m) for the Spanish international, smashing the £46m (then €76m, at a different exchange rate) Real Madrid paid for Zinedine Zidane in 2001.
However, the Citizens are prepared for 'El Nino' to reject a switch to Eastlands, in January at least, and have therefore arranged contingency plans.
With Spanish club Valencia reported to be in fancial turmoil, a bid for Torres' Spanish international team-mate David Villa is on the cards.
But rumour has it that Valencia president Vicente Soriano is ready to turn down any bids coming from Manchester, even if they were willing to part with as much as £60 million (€68 million).
Consequently, City manager Mark Hughes has sounded out Portsmouth's Lassana Diarra and Blackburn Rovers' Paraguayan international forward Roque Santa Cruz, who he brought to the club when he managed them last season, as more appropriate targets.