Villarreal are hoping to sign Juan Foyth permanently from Tottenham this summer for less than the option fee, Football Insider understands.
The Argentina international, 23, joined the La Liga club on an initial loan last summer.
Villarreal paid a £1.3million loan fee to Spurs as part of a deal that includes an option to buy the player for a further £13m at the end of the season.
But a Spanish source has told Football Insider the club are already working in the background to sign Foyth for considerably less.
Indeed, the sixth-placed La Liga team believe they may be able to negotiate the fee down due to the financial crisis across Europe and the tumbling value of the transfer market.
Talks are already taking place over that possibility and, significantly, Foyth is keen to join on a permanent deal.
Villarreal manager Unai Emery has made it clear he wants the Argentine to make a full-time move to the club.
He had made six consecutive league starts before his absence from the team for the 3-0 win over Granada on Saturday.
Foyth has made 10 La Liga and six Europa League starts among 25 appearances in all competitions during his loan.
His versatility is especially attractive to Emery, who has used him not only in his favoured centre-back role but also at right-back and in central midfield.
At Tottenham, Foyth made just 32 appearances in three seasons and could not get a regular run of matches.
He had been effectively frozen out under Jose Mourinho before heading to Spain this season.