Southampton have been linked with a move for Levante winger Jorge de Frutos in recent weeks but it looks as if Ralph Hasenhuttl’s side have been handed a significant blow in their hopes of bringing him to St Mary’s, as Real Madrid have now reportedly registered their interest in him.
According to Spanish news outlet Marca, Los Blancos have picked out the Levante star as the man they want to replace Lucas Vazquez at the Bernabeu in the summer, as his contract is set to expire.
The European giants also reportedly own 50% of the player’s rights, having only sold him to Levante during the summer, which surely puts them in the driving seat and, unfortunately, ahead of Southampton in the race to sign him.
Another report from Spain suggests that the winger has a €30 million release clause (£25.8 million) and that Levante are desperate to raise funds as they seek to balance the financial books.
The 24-year-old has enjoyed an excellent debut season with Les Granotas, having contributed three goals and seven assists in 27 La Liga appearances, of which just 12 have been starts.
His 10 goal contributions in the league puts him ahead of every Southampton winger/false 10 in Hasenhuttl’s side, with Stuart Armstrong coming the closest with just seven goal contributions in the Premier League this season (three goals, four assists).
The lack of goal threat in wide areas has been a serious area of concern for the Austrian manager this season, which has left him reliant on Danny Ings, Che Adams and James Ward-Prowse for goals, so adding someone such as De Frutos could have given Saints something different on the wing.
Therefore, it comes as a huge blow for Hasenhuttl that Real Madrid are seemingly now leading the race for the Levante star, as he would arguably be an excellent addition to the Austrian’s side at Southampton, and their chances of signing him now appear slim.