Real Madrid are ready to launch a bid for Sporting Lisbon star William Carvalho if Asier Illarramendi requests to leave the club, reports The Mail.
Citing reports in Spain, the story claims that Rafa Benitez is an admirer on the 23-year-old and sees him as a potential successor to Illarramendi.
However, Los Blancos are not willing to meet the £32m release clause on his contract, leaving a move to the Premier League more than possible.
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Manchester United were strongly linked with a move for Carvalho when David Moyes was at the helm and interest has remained despite the arrival of Louis van Gaal.
Carvalho recent heroics at the European Under-21 Championships, including a dominant display against a hapless England side, reminded his Premier League suitors what an exceptional talent he is.
However, the Red Devils have seemingly moved their focus to Southampton star Morgan Schneiderlin. They have already seen a £20m bid rejected but are expected to meet Ronald Koeman's £25m asking price in the coming days.
Premier League interest
That could leave Arsenal with little choice but to move for Carvalho. Arsene Wenger is interested in both players, but was reported to have placed Schneiderlin ahead of the Portuguese.
But the Gunners could find themselves on the losing end with regards to Carvalho if Real Madrid come calling as they are unlikely to convince him to move to the Emirates over the Bernabeu.
There is also an issue over whether Wenger needs another defensive midfielder after seeing Francis Coquelin emerge as a genuine option for the vacancy.
Coquelin's career at Arsenal looked over when he was sent to Charlton Athletic on loan, but he was recalled in January and managed to earn himself a place in the first-team.
Real Madrid's interest
Real Madrid, as previously mentioned, will only move for Carvalho if Illarramendi seals an exit from the club. The Spanish star has failed to establish himself following a £32m move from Real Sociedad in 2013 and has been linked with £16m move to Liverpool.
While Liverpool are seemingly keen to buy any player on offer, Benitez will not allow any players to leave until he assesses his squad in pre-season training.
Is William Carvalho good enough for Europe's top clubs?
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