Real Madrid reportedly held a meeting with Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz last month and the player favours a move to the Spanish capital.
A report in The Guardian a fortnight ago claimed that Los Blancos, alongside Barcelona and Manchester City, were watching the highly-rated midfielder.
Now ESPN FC say that a meeting was held between Madrid and Fabian in the Spanish capital in October and the former Real Betis star prefers a move to them ahead of the Blaugrana or City.
“I paid €30m for Fabián and he’s a fantastic player. If some of the European top clubs were to offer €180m we can start talking about selling him,” Napoli chairman, Aurelio De Laurentiis is cited as saying.
It is claimed that the Blaugrana’s director of football Eric Abidal went to Italy in September to watch the Naples-based side play Lecce and scout the midfielder, while City watched him against Red Bull Salzburg in the Champions League a fortnight ago.
A subsequent report in El Mundo Deportivo claimed that that Barca value the player’s ‘timing of runs, presence and touch of the ball’ and see him as the ideal candidate for strengthening the midfield.
The club are uncertain over the long-term futures of central midfielders Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal and Sergio Busquets.
Fabian received his first senior Spain cap in June and impressed in his debut Serie A season – scoring seven goals and providing three assists – following a €30m transfer from Real Betis last summer.
This follows a summer report in Diario AS which claimed Real Madrid were interested in a summer transfer for the midfielder.
The 23-year-old is said by Napoli to be ‘non-transferable’ but the report adds that they will listen to ‘juicy offers’ for the player and could be seduced by bids in excess of €70m.