Bayern Munich are moving closer to the signing of Athletic Bilbao's Javi Martinez, although the Bavarians have denied rumours that the transfer is already done.
Martinez, 23, has been a Bayern target from the beginning of this transfer window, and the Spain international's move to the Allianz Arena could break Bundesliga records.
German tabloid Bild reported on Wednesday evening that a €40 million deal had been agreed, which would be the highest ever transfer fee paid by a German club - surpassing the €35 million that Bayern handed to Stuttgart for Mario Gomez.
The Bavarians' coach Jupp Heynckes appeared optimistic about a deal for Martinez after the club's friendly against Seligenporten on Wednesday, saying: "The transfer is in a good position, but not done yet. We have to be patient for a bit longer."
And Bayern director of sport Matthias Sammer has been full of praise for the Spain international. "His stature and charisma alone make him a character at the centre of play," he said. "He has enormous strategic skills, great passing abilities, he is physically tough, and has a powerful heading ability."
Martinez was substituted at half-time in Athletic's pre-season friendly against Basque minnows Barakaldo on Wednesday before rushing off in his car, fuelling speculation that he was heading for talks.
However, Martinez's agent Antonio Sanz denied Bayern had even made an offer yet. "This is a complete lie. The clubs are not negotiating, as Bilbao is not willing to negotiate," Sanz said. "I do not believe Bayern have put € 40 million on the table. Javi Martinez will play for Athletic Bilbao next season."
Bayern have already splashed out €29.8 million on the likes of Mario Mandzukic (€12 million from Wolfsburg), Xerdan Shaqiri (€9 million from Basel) and Dante (€4.7 million from Monchengladbach) this summer in their bid to become German champions again after failing to win a trophy in the last two seasons.
The €29.8 million, however, is not enough to compete with Borussia Monchengladbach, who have spent a total of €31.2 million on new players. Double holders Borussia Dortmund rank third with €26.5 million in a stat calculated by the German press agency DPA.
Bundesliga clubs have so far spent a total of €186.23 million and, should Bayern's deal for Martinez go through, it would eclipse the current record of €194 million, set in 2007.