The transfer saga surrounding Arthur Melo and Barcelona could be set for a major new twist with reports in Spain claiming that Real Madrid are considering joining the race to secure the services of the Gremio starlet.

Marca claims that Los Blancos have "been offered" the possibility of beating Barcelona to his signing amid Gremio's annoyance with the Catalan side for tapping up the 21-year-old midfielder.

Earlier this month it emerged that Barcelona technical secretary Robert Fernandez travelled to South America to watch him in action with Ernesto Valverde's side searching for a new creative midfielder ahead of the upcoming January transfer window.

Speculation over his potential move to the Nou Camp swelled after a photograph of Arthur wearing a Barcelona shirt alongside Fernandez was leaked through social media.

The La Liga giants were forced to issue an apology after Gremio threatened them with legal action.

Earlier this week Gremio executive football director André Zanotta said that that two clubs had resolved their differences and suggested that the Brazilian side were ready to negotiate his departure for the right price.

However, Marca claims that Real have been offered the chance to hijack Arthur's potential departure to Barcelona as Gremio don't want to see the player move to the Nou Camp.

The Spanish publication claims that Los Blancos welcomed the offer as they also consider Arthur an interesting prospect for the future.

Recent reports from Catalonia have suggested that Arthur already has his eyes set on Barcelona but Marca claims that "sources close to the midfielder assure that he is not committed to Valverde's side and that the player wants nothing to do with them at this point in time."

The report from Marca is especially interesting with the Spanish publication also adding an interview with Gremio president in their Friday's edition (15 December).

Romildo Bolzan has addressed the interest of both La Liga giants but he made it clear that any suitor will need to pay Arthur's €50m (£44m, $59m) release clause in full if they want to lure the midfielder away from the Brazilian side.

Asked about Gremio's reaction to Arthur's picture with the Barcelona shirt, he said: "I was surprised because they knew I was coming to a lunch, but I ended up only with a Barcelona board member who I didn't even know. It was a strange situation, an oversight, a scene in which they put the player there inadvertently. This bothered the club, but hey, it's in the past.

"We have received no offers from Barcelona. Nobody has contacted us and, if they do, we will tell them that the only way he is leaving is by paying the buyout clause of 50 million euros,

"No [we have no take the case to Fifa]. For now we will wait to see how the situation evolves. Everything that happened was in a private room and we'll let it go for now."

And pressed if they would be open to negotiate his transfer to Real if Los Blancos make an approach, Bolzan added: "At this point we refer to the clause and I think we will not change our position. We believe the 21-year-old will go to the Brazilian national team and also the World Cup,

"He is a player who has become the revelation of the Brazilian championship this year and has a great future ahead of him. We have improved his contract for now."