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Barcelona scheming to beat Real Madrid to the signing of €35-40m teenage striker

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Photo by Ricardo Moreira/Getty Images

Real Madrid are may have fallen behind in the chase to sign one of Brazil’s top talents in Vitor Roque, with Mundo Deportivo claiming that La Liga rivals Barcelona are aiming to strike an agreement with Athletico Paranaense for his acquisition even before next summer.

Roque, 17, has been a sensation for Athletico, especially in their Copa Libertadores campaign where they are set to take on Flamengo in the final tonight. In the competition, which is the equivalent of the Champions League in South America, he has scored two goals and has provided as many assists.

While Madrid have been keeping a close eye on his progress, it is Barcelona, who have devised an extensive scouting strategy for the 17-year-old. Given that he will only turn 18 in February next year, Barcelona want to sign him next summer by striking an early agreement with his team.

The plan of action is similar to that of Real Madrid when they signed Vinicius Jr. The Merengues struck a deal in May 2017, but it only became effective after his 18th birthday in July 2018.

At Barcelona, they see Roque as someone who is well above his age. He is fast, agile, disciplined and knows how to exploit the pockets of spaces. On top of that, Barcelona’s adviser in Brazil, Deco, has endorsed his name big time.

For now, any team that wants to acquire his services has been told to shell out anywhere between €35-40 million, which is the similar range that was quoted for Vinicius and Rodrygo.

“He is a different player,” explains former Brazil manager Luis Felipe Scolari. “He is 17 years old, but from his physical, technical and mental structure, it seems that he is 22-23. He is a forward that is very difficult for defenders to deal with: he protects the ball well and he is fast,” he added.

Given the work Barcelona have put in, it is seeming evident that Real Madrid could miss out on the youngster this time.

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Real Madrid News

Real Madrid midfield starlet attracting interest from half the teams in La Liga

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Photo by Florencia Tan Jun/Getty Images

Real Madrid youngster Mario Martin finds himself at an interesting juncture in his fledgeling career.

The midfield prospect is well-liked at the club after impressing with Castilla in the past two seasons while first-team manager Carlo Ancelotti is also an admirer of the player.

While Martin seems to have reached the end of his cycle in Castilla, a spot in the first-team squad is not necessarily available right away, unless Dani Ceballos ends up leaving.

Plenty of interest in Mario Martin

Now, The Athletic reports that Mario Martin is a player in demand in La Liga with half the teams in the Spanish top flight eager to sign him up this summer.

As has already been reported, Real Valladolid and RCD Espanyol are understood to have shown a strong interest in the 20-year-old midfield talent.

Mario Martin is in demand in La Liga. (Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images)

However, it appears that there are a plethora of other clubs in La Liga who would be happy to sign Martin from Real Madrid in the current transfer window.

Martin wants to stay

But, the report states Martin is leaning towards staying put at Real Madrid at this point even though the prospects of regular first-team minutes are highly unlikely.

The 20-year-old, who has made four senior appearances for Los Blancos thus far, has a contract that runs until the summer of 2026.

Real Madrid, for their part, are not necessarily ruling out a sale provided a good offer comes along.

Even if they do part ways with Martin, the Spanish capital club would very much likely insert an affordable buyback clause as they have been doing in recent times for departing youth players.

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