Real Madrid president-elect Florentino Perez has whittled his coaching shortlist down to two names. Perez's No2, Jorge Valdano, has spent the past month sounding out potential replacements for Juande Ramos, including Inter Milan coach Jose Mourinho, AC Milan's Carlo Ancelotti and Michael Laudrup.
Valdano hasn't completely given up on trying to prise Wenger away from the Gunners.
However, AS says he has also discovered that Pellegrini's contract carries a £2.5 million buyout clause and the Chilean is fast emerging as the favoured option.
Indeed, Valdano has already told Perez he regards Pellegrini as "the future Wenger".