Real Madrid are resigned to having to meet Chelsea’s £100m asking price for Eden Hazard after FIFA upheld the Premier League club’s transfer ban.
They also accept that the saga will now run into the summer with Chelsea waiting to find out if the Court of Arbitration for Sport will give them a period of grace to sign players this summer while they review the case.
Madrid made Hazard their top target as soon as Zinedine Zidane returned to the club. They hoped that they could use the fact that he was in his last year of contract to bring the price down.
They also believed players such as Mateo Kovacic, currently at Chelsea on loan, and James Rodriguez and even Gareth Bale might move to the London this summer, in effect, reducing the outlay even further.
But with Chelsea unable to register players for one season even Kovacic’s permanent move now looks in doubt.
The club are now hopeful that Hazard will try to force his way out of the club but understand that he is not the sort of professional to refuse to train.
He could hand in a transfer request but even that is unlikely to make Chelsea bring down their asking price when they are not in a position to sign a replacement.
Real Madrid are enduring a difficult end to the season and wanted an early announcement on Hazard to appease fans unhappy at a trophyless campaign.
But Chelsea’s problems with FIFA have made that impossible.