Real Madrid have reportedly joined Manchester United in the race to sign highly-rated Belgian international midfielder Axel Witsel.
Portuguese publication Record is claiming that the 23-year-old has come to the attention of Los Blancos boss Jose Mourinho after a string of fine performances for Benfica both domestically and in Europe.
Goal.com goes on to report that that the tough-tackling midfielder has a €40 million minimum fee release clause in his contract at the Estádio da Luz, with the clause installed in a contract that runs until the summer of 2016.
Reports on talkSPORT yesterday claimed that Paris Saint-Germain were also interested in signing the player at the end of the season, although the price-tag has inflated massively since a £6.5 million switch from Standard Liege last summer.
Sir Alex Ferguson is an admirer of the player, but could be put off by the high-valuation as more clubs look to challenge Manchester United for the signature.
The Scottish boss is likely have money at his disposal this summer, but as yet has given no clues as to whether he will be looking to make many changes at Old Trafford at the end of the season.
Ferguson confirmed yesterday that Dimitar Berbatov will leave Manchester United.
But, with a host of young players in midfield, it would appear unnecessary for the Red Devils to add in the position – particularly a defensive enforcer.
An attacking midfielder might be a different story, if Paul Scholes decides to retire again, but that decision is unlikely to come before the conclusion of the current campaign as Manchester United continue their fight for the title.