Real Madrid have reportedly identified Porto centre-back Felipe Monteiro as the perfect man to replace Pepe for the 2017-18 season. AS claims that the Champions League winners have already reached a "verbal agreement" with the Brazilian defender and are now looking to do the same with the Portuguese side to complete the move.
Pepe, who was also recruited from Porto in 2007, has been a crucial player for Real Madrid over the past decade, helping them to win a variety of silverware, including two Champions Leagues, two La Liga titles and two Copa del Rey crowns.
However, his future with Zinedine Zidane's side has come under big scrutiny in recent months after reports in Spain revealed negotiations between his agent Jorge Mendes and the club were at an impasse – with the player demanding a two-year extension despite being 34.
With his contract set to expire at the end of the current season, Cadena Cope recently claimed the Portugal international is set to become the latest major European star to join the Chinese Super League, having agreed a deal to move to Hebei China Fortune, coached by Manuel Pellegrini.
Pepe is yet to comment on those reports, but AS has now added more fuel to speculations after claiming Real Madrid have already identified his replacement in Felipe, as the club has accepted that Pepe won't continue beyond the end of the season.
AS claims that Real Madrid have already reached a verbal agreement with Felipe's agent for the 27-year-old defender to move to the Santiago Bernabeu in the summer.
The report adds that Real Madrid are also confident on agreeing a deal with Porto as the Portuguese side need to sell some key assets due to their financial situation. AS claims that Felipe's release clause is set at €50m (£43.5m, $53.1m) but sources close to Porto admit that he could leave for a fee between €25m and €30m.
Felipe only joined Porto from Corinthians last summer, but his impressive first season in European football recently earned him a call-up from the Brazil national team.
The Spanish publication claims that Real Madrid have been monitoring him for a while and Zidane himself has already given the green light for a move ahead of the 2017-18 campaign.