Real Madrid will turn their attention to Bayern Munich’s Thiago Alcântara, should Mateo Kovacic leave, according to Marca.
The Los Blancos midfielder is unhappy over a lack of game-time, but he still provides strength in depth in a side that played over 60 games last season.
While the starting positions in central midfield are guaranteed at the Santiago Bernabeu, Thiago would provide essential back-up as they target a fourth-consecutive Champions League title.
Wanted in Spain
A move to Real Madrid would not sit well with their El Clasico rivals Barcelona, who have been linked with attracting their former La Masia youth product to replace Andres Iniesta.
Yet, it would reunite him with former Spain boss Julen Lopetegui, who joined the Los Blancos as head coach last week.
Thiago has been considered surplus to requirements by new Bayern manager Niko Kovac and a return to Spain is his most likely destination. But the Bavarians would still want €70 million for mercurial midfielder.
Thiago, the replacement
The Italian-born Spain international would replace Croatia’s Kovacic, who is nearing the Bernabeu exit.
The former Inter Milan midfielder managed just 20 starts for Los Blancos last season, having to settle for a place behind Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.
While Thiago may well be forced to take a backseat like Kovacic, Lopetegui had intentions to use the Spaniard as a long-term replacement for Sergio Busquets for La Roja.
The same idea could be replicated at Real Madrid, instead taking the place of Casemiro who has been previously linked with a move away from the Spanish capital.