Florentino Perez reacted with incredulity at the news of Andre Gomes' signing for FC Barcelona.
Having hardly had time to digest the blow, he gave the order to seek an alternative. Moussa Sissoko is the chosen player.
Real Madrid, who had been prepared to pay between 30 and 40 million euros for the Portuguese international, would be looking to pay a slightly inferior amount for Sissoko, but with the inclusion of bonuses to Newcastle, and the offer of a player on loan to Rafa Benitez's side.
The 26-year-old French international midfielder Sissoko, who has been at Newcastle for four seasons, was catapulted to the forefront of world football during Euro 2016, and Zinedine Zidane was impressed.
His physical power and deferral to the stars of the team are valued highly, but he was behind Andre Gomes in the wishlist of the Real Madrid president, once his hopes of signing Paul Pogba were dashed.
Florentino and Zidane spoke in a hastily arranged meeting in Montreal once the Andre Gomes story broke, and they drew up the new transfer plan moving forward.
Newcastle's relegation from the Premier League has led to Sissoko wanting to leave the English side, though he is under contract until June 2019.
Rafa Benitez is aware of the difficulty of keeping the player against his wishes.