Gabriel Heinze could take advantage of a FIFA loophole to buy out his Manchester United contract and secure a cut-price move to Real Madrid.
Heinze has been strongly linked with a transfer to the Spanish giants with reports suggesting he flew to Madrid at the weekend to discuss a switch to the Primera Liga leaders.
And the defender could become the first Premiership player to use a FIFA rule which allows footballers to buy themselves out of their own contracts.
According to the Daily Express, Heinze, who is valued by United at around £5million, could take advantage of the loophole to secure a transfer to Real or another club and he would only have to pay £4million to the Red Devils.
The rule allows players to pay off their deals with a club if they have served three years of their contract and are outside a ‘protected period’ in terms of age.
Heinze, 29, would qualify having signed for £6.9million from PSG in the summer of 2004.
The situation would mirror the controversy surrounding Andy Webster’s controversial switch from Hearts to Wigan last August.
Webster invoked article 17 in FIFA’s regulations for the status and transfer of players to became a Wigan player after three years at Hearts, with compensation rather than a transfer fee changing hands.
No Premiership players have yet used the loophole to leave a club, but several other big-name stars, including Chelsea’s Frank Lampard, are apparently eligible to take advantage of the controversial ruling.