Chelsea's hopes of securing the signature of Anwar El Ghazi have been dealt a significant blow after the highly-rated Ajax winger revealed that Real Madrid are his dream club.
The 20-year-old has been attracting admiring glances from a host of top European suitors after a series of impressive performances in the Eredivisie this term, and Blues boss Jose Mourinho is understood to be among those coaches currently monitoring his progress.
However, the Portuguese tactician will struggle to lure the Moroccan-born starlet to Stamford Bridge this summer after it emerged that El Ghazi is holding out for a high-profile transfer to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The Netherlands U20 international was voted Ajax's Young Player of the Season following a successful breakthrough campaign in 2014/15, and the Dutch club are already preparing themselves for possible enquiries when the transfer window reopens.
El Ghazi is currently in France competing at the Under-20 tournament in Toulon and is sure to add a few million pounds more to his valuation if he continues to standout amongst his peers.
In the short-term the fleet-footed forward is just focusing on continuing his development under the watchful eye of Frank de Boer at the Amsterdam Arena, but admitted in an interview with the club's TV channel that he does have aspirations of making a big step up later in his career.
"My dream is of course to succeed with Ajax as a major player," he is quoted by talkSPORT telling Ajax TV. "From there I want to make a big next step.
"Real Madrid are of course my dream club."
Given the stiff competition for places in Madrid, El Ghazi must be careful not to move on too quickly, or else he risks hampering his progress with no guarantee of regular first-team football.
That's not to say he'd find it any easier at Chelsea because Mourinho also boasts great strength and depth to his squad in west London, so perhaps the best bet for the talented youngster is to stay put for the foreseeable future.
Ajax fans: How impressed have you been with Anwar El Ghazi this season? Do you think he has what it takes to go all the way to the top? Share your thoughts in the comment box below…