The agent of Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso has been in contact with Manchester United and Manchester City to discuss a deal for the Spaniard’s signature, according to reports from the Daily Star.

The ex-Liverpool ace is currently one of the most sought after playmakers in Europe, with his contract at the Bernabeu set to expire in six months’ time.

Even though Alonso is one of Real’s most important players, he looks set to leave the club for free, with negotiations for a new deal said to be some way from being complete.

As a result, his agent has been in contact with English sides to discuss a possible switch.

A January transfer would require a fee, but with the midfielder’s age, 32, and the face he will be able to leave Madrid for nothing in the summer he is likely to be available on the cheap.

United are believed to be very keen, despite Alonso’s previous allegiance with their bitter rivals Liverpool.

City are also in the race, even though they possess a wealth of players able to operate in a similar position.

It is also thought that Chelsea have been contacted, but their pursuit of a striker may thwart a possible deal.