Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has revealed that the club are interested in signing Manchester City and Manchester United target Thiago Alcantara.
The Barcelona midfielder's future at the Nou Camp has come into doubt following the revelation of a clause in his contract that could see his buyout fee drop to just €18m, a relative bargain for a player who has been likened to his teammates Xavi and Andres Iniesta.
United are long term admirers of the 22-year-old, and the news of his possible availability has reignited their interest as the club look to add to their midfield numbers, given the uncertainty surrounding the futures of Anderson and Darren Fletcher, plus Paul Scholes' retirement.
Spanish reports have also suggested that City have entered the race, with incoming manager Manuel Pellegrini and the club's sporting director, formally of Barcelona, Txiki Begiristain keen on securing Alcantara's talents.
Both clubs may face competition from Real Madrid, however, should the club's new manager be interested in the Spain Under-21 international.
When quizzed on Alcantara's situation, Perez told Spanish newspaper Sport, "If Barca aren't interested in Thiago (Alcantara) and if our new coach is interested, we would like to sign him."
Despite the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, Tito Vilanova's side can do little to stop Los Blancos attempting to strike a deal with Alcantara should a release clause be met.
The clause currently stands at s staggering €90m, which has previously dissuaded clubs from even considering a bid for the highly regarded midfielder.
However, that figure is due to drop to €18m because of a clause that stated if the midfielder failed to play a certain percentage of games then the fee would be reduced.
Alcantara is expected to play a pivotal role in Spain's Under-21 campaign in the coming weeks, and with the Under-21 European Championships due to start next Wednesday, the midfielder's presence in Barcelona's side this Saturday is uncertain.
From Perez's comments, Real's interest in the midfielder hinges on the verdict of their new manager. With Jose Mourinho to leave the club following their last game of the season against Osasuna, Carlo Ancelotti has been heavily linked with the soon to be vacant role, while outgoing Bayern Munich manager Jupp Heynckes is also a contender for the job.