Real Madrid have switched their attentions to 21-year-old Croatian star Karlo Letica as they look to secure a replacement for goalkeeper Keylor Navas.
The 31-year-old Costa Rican stopper is the current No 1 at the Bernabeu but Los Blancos are committed to strengthening the position after a hugely disappointing domestic campaign this season.
Madrid continue to hold long-standing interest in Manchester United’s David de Gea and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois, but the Premier League duo would prove difficult acquisitions with neither United nor Chelsea looking to sell.
But, according to Marca, the club’s hierarchy has identified Hajduk Split talent Letica, who has stolen the glances of Europe’s elite following a string of fine performances.
Zinedine Zidane’s side feel they can steal a march on their rivals by securing the signature of Letica, who is compared to Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak due to his size, ahead of next season.
Letica would also represent a much more economical deal with Courtois or De Gea, who both have a market value which would be a world record for a goalkeeper – Manchester City’s Ederson is the current record at £34.7million.
De Gea, in particular, has produced some sensational performances for United this term and some of the game’s most notable voices feel he is the best in the world in the position.
The Spanish No 1 has less than 16 months left on his current deal at Old Trafford and he is said to be eyeing a fresh contract with wages which represent his worth to the Red Devils – in the same way Alexis Sanchez and Paul Pogba were remunerated.
Athletic Bilbao prospect Kepa Arrizabalaga was heavily linked with a switch to Madrid but interest in the young Spaniard seems to have waned and any deal now appears unlikely with the focus firmly on Letica.