Real Madrid step up interest in Matic

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Real Madrid have stepped up their interest in Manchester United midfielder target Nemanja Matic - and they hold a couple of advantages over the Old Trafford club.

According to Portuguese newspaper Correio de Manha, Real Madrid will step up their interest in the Serbian international after Khedira seriously injured his knee on international duty.

Manchester United were thought to be considering a January move for the former-Chelsea youngster following failed pursuits for Cesc Fabregas, Ander Herrera and Thiago Alcantara over the summer.

But Khedira's injury has prompted Real Madrid to prepare options for Carlo Ancelotti should the ex-Chelsea boss want to strengthen his midfield options in the winter window.

Matic reportedly has a €50m release clause in his Benfica contract, and while club president Luis Filipe Vieira has insisted Benfica will demand the full fee, Champions League elimination could force his hand.

Benfica are on the cusp of elimination following their defeat to Olympiacos in their last group game, and reports claim they may have to cash in on their most valuable assets to balance the books.

United are still interested in the midfielder, but the Old Trafford club are at a disadvantage compared to their Bernabeu rivals.

Real Madrid own a 50 per cent sell-on clause on Benfica defender Ezequiel Garay - incidentally another United January target - and the Madrid chiefs could waive the rights to sweeten the deal for the Portuguese giants.

Benfica's reported interest in Real Madrid defender Fabio Coentrao may also help swing the deal in Madrid's favour.

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