Santos have confirmed they would prefer to take Manchester City's Robinho on an 18-month loan deal rather than until the end of the season.
The unsettled City star is keen on a return to his homeland and has spoken this week of a 90 per cent likelihood that he will move back to Brazil.
Robinho has struggled for anything like his top form since joining City last January from Real Madrid in a club record £32.5million deal.
While City officials remain reluctant to discuss the issue and boss Roberto Mancini insists he wants the player to stay so long as he is happy, Santos are optimistic an agreement can be struck.
Santos communications co-ordinator Arnaldo Hase said: "We are respecting Manchester's directors, they have to be respected.
"We are optimistic without being too optimistic.
"The negotiations began last week, there were some mails between the Manchester directors and Santos directors.
"The Manchester directors agreed to the possibility of discussing the negotiation. Our marketing directors travelled to England on Saturday and arrived on Sunday.
"They are in London now and I think they are conducting the negotiations now."
Regarding the length of the possible loan deal, Hase said: "The first thought of the Manchester directors, it was about six months. Of course Santos would like it to be more - one year, one year and a half if possible."
Santos president Luis Alvaro Ribeiro has also revealed that any deal struck with City could allow the Premier League outfit first refusal on talented youngsters Paulo Henrique Ganso and Neymar.
Ribeiro said: "They want the first choice to buy the two boys. That does not bother us because we will sell the players for the best offer. If City have the conditions to match the offer, they can have the players."