AC Milan general manager Adriano Galliani has revealed David Beckham's lawyers have started negotiations with Los Angeles Galaxy regarding a permanent move to the San Siro.
The on-loan midfielder has been a huge success in Italy, where he has scored two goals and provided three assists in his first five games to help Milan move into second place in Serie A.
On Monday, Beckham was included in Milan's updated UEFA Cup player list - fuelling speculation that they would try to keep him beyond his March 9 loan expiration date - and now Galliani has said he is ready to do a deal if Galaxy are ready to talk.
"Beckham's lawyers are talking to the Los Angeles Galaxy who are the rightful owners of his registration," said the Milan chief. "If they show themselves to be ready to look at a deal, we would be really happy to do so."
Galliani, speaking at Milan's Malpensa airport as his team prepared to fly out for a friendly match against Rangers, said: "At the moment there's neither optimism nor pessimism."
"The player belongs to Galaxy. We wish they decide to release him, but if they don't change their minds the player is theirs.
"We are looking to get him either on loan until the end of the season or on a permanent basis. Otherwise, with the greatest regret from everyone - starting with me - Beckham will have to go."
Galliani added: "Players can make their choices but their clubs can refuse their wishes. Moreover, the Los Angeles Galaxy have always been very nice to us and have behaved in a very gentlemanly manner.
"In any case at this moment there are no dealings and we haven't made an offer, but Beckham's lawyers are talking with Los Angeles. There is time until March 8 to get us round a table and close a possible deal."
The Galaxy refused to discuss Galliani's claims on Wednesday, spokesman Patrick Donnelly saying: ''We have no comment to make.''
When Milan touched down at Glasgow Airport ahead on Wednesday night's match at Ibrox Beckham was swamped by the media but refused to answer any questions.
The 33-year-old has proved so effective for Milan that coach Carlo Ancelotti claims the Rossoneri's Scudetto chances depend on Beckham staying at the San Siro.
"The Scudetto race would be much easier for us if he stays," Ancelotti told Sky Italia. "He has given us a new boost in quality and in enthusiasm, he has given this team an added extra.
"He has added his own qualities to the team, in the way he plays, his focus, his qualities of assist and in the goals that he has scored. He has given a great contribution that we didn't expect."
Ancelotti reiterated his desire to keep Beckham at the club, but once again insisted he is powerless to make that happen.
"I'm a realist," he added. "I know that he will be with us until March 9, we ave to try and take advantage of that in the best way possible, as he is doing now.
"His desire is to stay - he hasn't hidden that - but it's a problem between him and the Los Angeles Galaxy. In this we, as a club, cannot get involved."