Diego Simeone is aiming to strengthen his first team squad ahead of the 2021/22 campaign but he is working with a reduced transfer budget.
A lack of funds for big name signings means Simeone may be forced to bring in bargains and loan moves as part of his title defence.
According to reports from Mundo Deportivo, ex Brazilian international Paulinho is an option as a free transfer in the coming weeks.
The 32-year-old is available as a free agent after spending three seasons in the Chinese Super League with Guangzhou Evergrande.
He opted against extending his contract in China amid rumours he wants another crack at European football before he retires.
Los Rojiblancos only need to put together a salary package for the former Tottenham schemer and Simeone is unlikely to offer him more than a 12-month deal in the Spanish capital.