Real Madrid are reportedly considering a move for Benfica star Ezequiel Garay, just two years after the defender was deemed not good enough for their first team.
The Argentine international has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United throughout the season thanks to an impressive campaign for the Portuguese side, which has helped them steal the advantage in the race for the Primeira Liga title.
Portuguese newspaper O Jogo reports that the Spanish giants are seriously considering a bid to re-sign the 26-year-old, and may look to utilise a clause in the defender's contract that could see Los Blancos sign Garay for half of what United would have to pay.
Garay left the Bernabeu for a fee of €5.5 million in 2011 after seeing his first team appearances for Real Madrid severely limited. On joining Benfica, Real Madrid included a clause whereby the Spanish giants are entitled to 50 per cent of his future sale, according to O Jogo, a detail that has become increasingly significant given the defender's excellent campaign.
The forming Racing Santander defender reportedly has a release clause of €20 million in his current contract, effectively allowing Madrid to receive half of their money back should they look to meet that figure.
The likely departures of Ricardo Carvalho and Raul Albiol at the end of the season may open up a spot alongside either Pepe, Sergio Ramos or Raphael Varane at the heart of Real Madrid's defence, with Garay touted as a possible addition.
However, whether the Argentine could be persuaded to re-join the club that awarded him just five starting appearances during his final season having since enjoyed two outstanding campaigns in the Portuguese capital remains to be seen.
The 26-year-old has been one of a number of defensive names linked with a move to Old Trafford as a potential successor to Rio Ferdinand.