According to Italian publication Il Corriere dello Sport, Real Madrid have joined the race to sign highly-rated Roma midfielder Radja Nainggolan.
The Belgian international was in action at the weekend as his nation lost to a Gareth Bale-inspired Welsh side 1-0 in Cardiff - a game that Rafa Benitez watched from the stands.
The Madrid boss’s presence was initially said to be a routine check on former Tottenham Hotspur star Bale but fresh reports from Italy say the Spaniard had another motive for his visit.
“The Spanish coach was in Cardiff to watch Wales-Belgium to personally check-up on Gareth Bale and watch over Roma’s Radja Nainggolan who Real Madrid are following,” the report states.
The midfielder’s situation is rather complicated due to his co-ownership involving both Roma and Cagliari, and no permanent move can be completed until the rights are fully passed on either way.
Nevertheless, the 27-year-old has attracted interest from a number of clubs with Belgian newspaper HLN crediting Tottenham Hotspur as a suitor only last month.
Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is seemingly in the market for a new midfielder this summer, with the name of Marseille’s Giannelli Imbula also popping up on a number of occasions.
If the Argentine boss insists Nainggolan is his ideal man, he will have to be patient and hope Madrid don’t force the issue as the La Liga giants have the financial muscle to overpower the North Londoners.