Barcelona would have an advantage over Real Madrid in a potential transfer battle for Atletico Madrid centre-back Jose Maria Gimenez this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo. The Spanish publication claims that Los Colchoneros don't want to sell the defender to their arch-enemies, for any price, preferring to see him moving to the Nou Camp - even if that does mean a cut-price deal.
The Catalan club have publicly admitted that signing a world class centre-back to partner Gerard Pique is a priority for the summer transfer window; after all, Thomas Vermaelen, Jeremy Mathieu and academy star Marc Bartra have all struggled, so far, to convince Luis Enrique that they deserve the spot over Javier Mascherano, with the former Liverpool star currently the number one choice, despite originally being played as a midfielder.
Gimenez has been one of the names listed as potential candidate to bolster the position alongside the likes of Marquinhos or Aymeric Laporte, after the 21-year-old emerged as one of the most promising centre-backs in his position He formed an impressive partnership with Diego Godin while at the heart of manager Diego Simeone's back-line.
Yet, Barcelona hopes to secure Gimenez's services appeared to suffer a blow last month, after Marca revealed that he is also the Number 1 target of Real Madrid to strengthen the defence. The report added that Los Blancos were even ready to meet his €65m (£51.1m, $73.5m) release clause to lure him to the Santiago Bernabeu. Reports state that Real Madrid need a long-term replacement for Pepe, who is already 33-years-old while Sergio Ramos also turned 30 last month.
But Mundo Deportivo now claims that, should Barcelona go into the battle with Real Madrid to secure his services, the Catalans would have a big advantage.
The Catalan publication confirms that Real Madrid are willing to meet his release clause in full. However, they add that Atletico would be open to negotiate his departure to Barcelona for a lower price.
The rivalry between both Madrid clubs in recent years had already blocked the departures of the likes of Sergio Aguero or Radamel Falcao to the Santiago Bernabeu, even though, at the time, both strikers were reportedly likely to make the move to Los Blancos.