Real Madrid have identified Sevilla star Geoffrey Kondogbia as their ideal Xabi Alonso back-up but face competition from a host of Europe's top clubs, including Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Arsenal, and AC Milan.
Reports in Spanish newspaper Marca claim Jose Mourinho's side want cover for the 31-year-old Alonso, and Kondogbia is the man they've identified as first-choice.
The France under-20 international has enjoyed a breakout season at Sevilla this term, and has scouts from across Europe watching his performances in southern Spain.
A number of Premier League clubs are thought to be interested - Manchester City were reportedly the favourites, but Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all monitoring the 20-year-old defensive midfielder.
AC Milan and Inter Milan are also tracking Kondogbia, who turned down an offer from Juventus earlier this month, while Borussia Dortmund are also thought to be keen.
But the Marca report claims Kondogbia's preference is to stay in Spain, and believe his decision to reject Juventus points towards a potential move to Real Madrid.
The Bernabeu club have not made contact with Sevilla or Kondogbia's father, who acts as his agent, but they believe a bid in the region of €20m should be enough.
Sevilla expect to lose him at the end of the season, with his transfer rights split between the club and Doyen Sports - an investment company that also includes Alvaro Negredo, Roberto Canella and Radamel Falcao on its books.
Manchester United have been linked with several defensive midfielders in recent months - a move for Victor Wanyama was mentioned but never materialised during the January transfer window.
Arsenal were also thought to be in for Wanyama, and are yet to replace last season's first-choice holding midfielder Alex Song, who left for Barcelona last summer.
But Chelsea are another Premier League side looking for reinforcements in the middle of the park, with Frank Lampard yet to be offered a new deal. Marouane Fellaini is thought to be a target, but Kondogbia is younger and could be another option.