Indeed, Atletico are reported to have had an agreement in place with Southampton over the 26-year-old, whereby the St Mary's outfit could land the Belgian for £6.8 million once his loan spell with the Premier League side had ended.
But that small fee could land them a much larger profit overall as the South Coast side will now have to battle it out with Tottenham for who can offer the greatest amount.
The Levy factor?
The idea now is said to be a simple auction between Southampton, Tottenham and whoever else may be interested in the talented 26-year-old.
The Tottenham supremo is a famed negotiator but has also missed out on targets in the past due to an unwillingness to pay over the odds. Southampton, meanwhile, have funds after selling Nathaniel Clyne and have also freed up wages from releasing Dani Osvaldo.
At this point, though, both clubs appear to be on an equal footing. No one has a distinct advantage.