According to Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid are hopeful of beating Barcelona to the signature of Liverpool’s Philippe Coutinho during the January transfer window.
If it were up to Coutinho, the Brazilian international would currently be turning out in the famous Barcelona shirt.
Indeed, the 25-year-old, who is valued at £58.5m by transfermarkt.co.uk, did his best to engineer a move to Camp Nou during the summer transfer window, even handing in a transfer request at Anfield.
Liverpool would not play ball, however, with the Reds consistently rejecting bids from Barcelona as Coutinho stayed on Merseyside beyond the end of the transfer window.
It is thought that Barcelona will return with a fresh bid in January, but according to Mundo Deportivo, Real Madrid are hoping to jump above their rivals in the queue.
The report claims that the Spanish and European champions have already made initial contact with Liverpool as they look to secure what would be a spectacular deal.
It would have been easy for Coutinho to sulk at Liverpool in the early stages of the 2017-18 campaign, but the Brazilian has scored four times and provided three assists in nine appearances for the Reds this season.
It remains to be seen whether the former Inter Milan playmaker is an elite footballer, but there is no question that he would improve what is a wounded Real Madrid.
Los Blancos failed to replace the likes of James Rodriguez and Alvaro Morata during the summer, and Zinedine Zidane’s side have now lost their last two games in all competitions – 2-1 at Girona last weekend and 3-1 at Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday.
Real Madrid are in desperate need of some fresh blood in the final third of the field, and Coutinho could easily slot into one of the wide positions for the capital giants.
Liverpool are expected to hold out for in excess of £100m for Coutinho, and a spectacular battle for his services between the two powerhouses of Spanish football could well be about to take place.