Franz Beckenbauer is adamant the future of Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery will not turn into a long-running saga over the summer.
The talented French schemer is thought to top the wish-list of some of Europe's biggest clubs, with the likes of Real Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester United all mooted as suitors.
Bayern general manager Uli Hoeness has sent out mixed signals by first claiming he was not for sale at any price and then expressing his willingness to speak to new Real president Florentino Perez.
Beckenbauer wants the issue resolved, either by signing Ribery to a new contract or selling him.
"I can see only two solutions: Ribery extends his contract so the issue is dealt with or we release him," he said in Bild.
"I rate Ribery alongside Cristiano Ronaldo and (Lionel) Messi as the best footballers in the world at present.
"If he were to leave, it would be the second huge loss for the Bundesliga after Diego.
"However, if Ribery wants to leave, then it will be hard for us to keep hold of him."
Nevertheless, Beckenbauer does not believe Bayern's world would fall apart without the 26-year-old.
"So many so-called irreplaceable players have gone yet football has still moved on," he said.
"Obviously it would be a shame, though, and it is hard to imagine Bayern being better without Ribery."
Real are believed to be preparing a bid which would tempt Bayern's new Dutch coach Louis van Gaal by offering his two compatriots Arjen Robben and Wesley Sneijder, along with a sizeable fee.
Ribery refused to dampen the transfer talk when he appeared on French TV programme Telefoot on Sunday.
"I will see how my situation is going to develop. Honestly, I don't know - my situation isn't easy to deal with," the former Marseille winger said.
"I am under contract until 2011 with Bayern, I am fine over there. I'm not someone who likes to clash - I have spent two good years at Bayern.
"We will see how everything turns out."