Sevilla president Jose Castro has appeared to admit defeat to Real Madrid in the pursuit of Lyon striker Mariano Diaz.
The Andalusian club struck a €35m agreement with the French club for the Dominican-born striker but Madrid, who owned 35% of his rights, had a buyback option which they had 48 hours to activate.
“We are an ambitious club and things like that happen when you want players of this level,” Castro told reporters, in quotes carried by ESPN FC.
“It is true that Madrid had a preferential option and told us that they will exercise it but we still do not have the player's notification.
“The player told us he wanted to play at Sevilla, that he wanted to play in the Spanish league and, above all, that he wanted to play in a team who have won so many Europa League titles as Sevilla.
“He has not given an answer and we are waiting for his answer. You can guess [his decision] but we do not have a reply from the player who is the one who is able to say one thing or another.
“Sevilla have acted as we had to act. We have reached an agreement with Lyon. The footballer told us he would only play for Sevilla. They [Real Madrid] have considered to exercise their option.”
Diaz left the European champions in an €8m deal last summer but Madrid have a track record of including buyback clauses and percentages of future sales when sanctioning player exits.
El Pais now say the club will proceed with their move for the striker, who will bolster a forward line which saw Cristiano Ronaldo leave for Juventus in a €100m deal earlier this summer.
Cadena Cope said on Monday night that Madrid were ‘seriously studying’ the chance to sign the striker while Marca agree, leading their Tuesday edition with Madrid’s pursuit.
The 25-year-old netted 21 goals and provided seven assists in 45 appearances last season but has yet to find the net in three outings this campaign.
“I am very happy in Lyon, but one day in the future I would like to return to Spain,” Mariano told an interview with Cadena Cope back in February.
“It was the correct decision by Madrid to let me go…for me, for them, for Lyon. But it is true that it would be a dream for me to return in the future.”
Mariano made eight La Liga appearances for Madrid, all from the bench, scoring one goal.