Real Madrid are planning to make an approach in signing Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the January transfer window. The European champions are ahead of Juventus and Arsenal, who are also interested in the Spaniard.
The 23-year-old's contract with the Basque club will run down at the end of the season. He has not yet committed his future to the La Liga outfit. According to the Spanish newspaper Marca, the agency Bahia Internacional, who represent the player, held talks over extending their client's contract.
Bilbao and Kepa are nowhere close to reaching an agreement over a new deal. Two stumbling blocks are the release clause and the wages. The Spanish side were ready to lower the release clause from €100m (£88.6m, $116.5m) to €75m (£66.4m, $87.05m).
However, the salary offered by Kepa's employers were way too less than what he could earn if he moves away from Bilbao. There is still a possibility that a new contract could be agreed and the two parties are expected to be involved in more meetings in coming weeks.
Kepa's failure to sign a new deal before the end of this calendar year will then allow him to negotiate with clubs outside Spain. Apart from the 12-time European champions, last season's Champions League finalists Juventus and Arsene Wenger's side are also interested in the goalkeeper.
The Turin club and the Gunners have made their interest known through unofficial intermediaries. Both Juventus and Arsenal would be interested in signing the Spain international as a long-term replacement for Gianluigi Buffon or Petr Cech respectively.
Real manager Zinedine Zidane has the services of Keylor Navas as the first choice goalkeeper at the club. The Champions League winners have identified Kepa as a player to provide competition to the Costa Rican international.
They remain hopeful that Kepa can take over Navas as the first choice keeper at Santiago Bernabeu. He has a €20m (£17.7m, $23.2m) release clause in his present contract. Real are willing to pay that fee in January in order to beat any competition from Juventus and Arsenal.
Zidane's side are currently leading the race for the Bilbao keeper's signature. Should Real manage to sign Kepa, it will come as a welcome boost for Manchester United. The Red Devils star David de Gea has been heavily linked with a move to Real. Any potential move from the La Liga outfit in signing Kepa is likely to end any interest in bringing De Gea back to Spain.