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Manchester United, Liverpool ahead of Real Madrid in race for €120 million midfield gem



Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images

SL Benfica and Argentina midfielder Enzo Fernandez is a wanted commodity in the transfer market after a stunning rise in stature over the past four-five months.

Already touted as a star in the making in his homeland, Fernandez moved to SL Benfica from River Plate in the last summer window and quickly became a key member of the Portuguese outfit.

Carrying that form to the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar, Enzo Fernandez played an important role in Argentina’s triumph, and was even named the Young Player of the Tournament.

The 21-year-old has since become a transfer target for several top clubs across Europe, including Real Madrid.

Los Blancos are in the market for reinforcements in midfield as Luka Modric is in the twilight of his career while Toni Kroos is also reportedly considering retirement. Thus, Carlo Ancelotti & co. are on the lookout for a new midfielder, with Jude Bellingham their priority target.

Talks for the Englishman are set to begin next week, but Real Madrid are keeping their options open in case Bellingham proves to be costly or other clubs swoop him away. Fernandez, to that end, has been identified as the alternative to the England star.

However, according to journalist Gaston Edul, Real Madrid are currently trailing Premier League giants Manchester United and Liverpool in the race to sign Enzo Fernandez.

The report suggests that the Red Devils are leading the race for the 21-year-old, with Liverpool behind them and Real Madrid in the third position.

Fernandez has a release clause worth €120 million in his contract and Benfica are clear that the only way they will let him leave is if that clause is activated.

And reports have suggested that Manchester United are prepared to trigger the €120 million buyout clause in January itself. It potentially puts them in the driver’s seat when it comes to the Argentine international’s pursuit.

If the Red Devils do come out on top in this battle, it will leave Real Madrid and Liverpool sparring for Bellingham’s signing come summer of 2023.

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Real Madrid News

Rival watch: Barcelona midfielder essentially ruled out of Real Madrid clash



Photo by JOSEP LAGO/AFP via Getty Images

In what could be a real deal breaker for Real Madrid ahead of their Copa del Rey semi-final second leg clash against Barcelona, it has been revealed that as many as three Barça will be absent from the game while another key player remains a major doubt.

The list includes the likes of Pedri, Ousmane Dembele and Andreas Christensen. The trio is certain to miss the game through respective injuries while a certain Frenkie de Jong is more or less ruled out, as per Javi Miguel.

It must be remembered that Barcelona are heading into the second leg with a 1-0 advantage. But the absence of the aforementioned players means Madrid can work on exploiting the frailties.

Despite the absence of such big names, Barcelona did pretty well against Elche in their previous outing, coming out 4-0 victorious, with the goals coming from Robert Lewandowski, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres.

With options lacking in midfield, Xavi decided to use the likes of Sergi Roberto and Eric Garcia along with Gavi in the heart of the lineup. In any way, they do have Sergio Busquets and Franck Kessie as backups if needed.

The defence, on the other hand, was perfectly guarded by Jordi Alba, Marcos Alonso, Ronald Araujo and Jules Kounde.

One can expect Xavi to once again interchange Araujo with Kounde on the right since the Uruguayan has been rather successful in minimizing the threat of Vinicius Jr.

As far as Madrid are concerned, they are sweating over the fitness of three key defenders, namely, Antonio Rudiger, Nacho, and Ferland Mendy. Between these three, the Frenchman is out for about a month while Rudiger and Nacho are expected to be back before the Clasico.

If there are no casualties against Real Valladolid, Madrid will have a perfect midfield and attack, with only Mariano Diaz missing. 

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