Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has said that if he had the chance to sign any Real Madrid player he would plump for Manchester United target Sergio Ramos – while also appearing to open the door to the more realistic loan arrival of promising winger Marco Asensio from the Santiago Bernabeu.
Ramos has been heavily linked with Old Trafford this mercato, after reports in June came out that the Spanish defender wanted to quit the La Liga bid dogs after a break down in his relationship with club president Florentino Perez over the terms of a new contract.
AS stated that Louis van Gaal had even launched a €45m (£31.3m, $48.8m) offer to secure the player's services, but that Real Madrid were demanding at least twice that.
Even that possibility seemed to vanish though when Spanish newspaper Marca revealed Ramos had changed his mind and was ready to commit his future to the club with a brand new deal.
Pochettino, meanwhile, has bolstered his defence during the current transfer window with the arrivals of Toby Alderweireld, Kevin Wimmer and Kieran Trippier.
But after Spurs played against Real Madrid in a pre-season game on 4 August the Argentinian admitted a passion for Ramos.
Asked during an interview with Spanish radio station Onda Cero on whether he would like to lure any players from Rafa Benitez's squad to White Hart Lane, he said: "I would sign several players from Real Madrid but especially, as a I was a centre-back, I would like to sign Sergio Ramos."
"He is really good. I really like him. I would sign him with my eyes closed. I love Ramos."
Pochettino is aware that Ramos's signing is all but impossible for Tottenham, but the arrival of Asensio is a more likely development.
Real Madrid signed the 19-year-old forward from Mallorca last season after he garnered a reputation as one of the next big things in Spain.
But the La Liga giants are ready to send him on loan to complete his development somewhere else this season – with both Espanyol and Betis among the candidates to secure his services.
And questioned whether he would like to have him at Tottenham, Pochettino said: "He is a great player. He has a great future. He is a player who I like.
"I have a good friend that sometime ago told me to sign Ayoze Perez when he was starting at Tenerife and then, when one year ago Asensio emerged at Mallorca, he told me to bring him to Tottenham. But if the player wants to go to [my former club] Espanyol I will let him go there."