Liverpool have been linked with a move for Brighton midfielder Yves Bissouma in the January transfer window.
With Georginio Wijnaldum yet to pen a new contract at Anfield, ESPN have reported a move for Bissouma is being considered.
Manchester United, Arsenal and Monaco have also reportedly been circling – but it is now claimed Real Madrid will pose Liverpool’s biggest threat.
According to Defensa Central, Bissouma’s performances have caught the eye of manager Zinedine Zidane, who has been impressed with his physical presence.
With the Bernabeu club counting the cost of the coronavirus pandemic, it is claimed they are not in a position to fund a big-money move for a marquee signing.
Their long-standing interest in Paul Pogba is unlikely to lead to a January move despite uncertainty over his Manchester United future.
The same applies to Rennes wonderkid Eduardo Camavinga, who would attract a big fee.
As a result, Bissouma has been identified as a more affordable alternative with claims Brighton could ask for €35-40m to sanction a deal.
With Liverpool and other clubs keen, Real Madrid face a battle to win the race for Bissouma, whose exit would be a huge blow for Brighton.
Liverpool’s transfer policy depends on whether they can tie down Wijnaldum, who will be out of contract in the summer.
Speaking about the midfielder’s future last month, manager Jurgen Klopp said: “I cannot really say a lot about that. I would be happy if he would stay here – that’s maybe the only thing.
“But sitting here, I’m pretty happy with Gini. You see [that] when you look at most of the line-ups!”