Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Reported Southampton target Jorge de Frutos ‘will be a Real Madrid player’ at some point in the future, Levante president Quico Catalan told Onda Cero of the La Liga winger. 

The short-lived Rafa Benitez era will not be remembered too fondly by anyone at the Santiago Bernabeu.  

But, while the Spaniard’s dream job was snatched out of his hands after just half a season in the capital, Benitez did leave a legacy in Madrid.  

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It was he who brought Casemiro and Lucas Vazquez back to the club, exercising the buy-back clause in the former’s Porto contract while handing the latter a second chance just 12 months after he was sold to Espanyol. 

Six years later, Casemiro and Vazquez are still two of the most important players in Real Madrid’s star-studded squad, lifting a pair of La Liga titles and tasting Champions League success on three occasions.

Is a Southampton target heading to Real Madrid?

After producing four goals and 12 assists during his breakthrough campaign at Levante, speculation has suggested that Jorge de Frutos could soon be following in the footsteps of Casemiro and Vazquez with a £25 million release clause putting his future in doubt.  

Cashing in on De Frutos would go some way to solving Levante’s financial problems.

But, according to their president, the Castellon club have no intention of parting with the jet-heeled winger just yet.  

“No one from Real Madrid has called me. He will be a Real Madrid player, not now but in the future; he is in the ideal place to continue growing,” Catalan said. 

Photo by Eric Alonso/Getty Images

“I think that some club this summer will want to count on his services. It will be necessary to assess when the time comes.” 

The Mirror (28 February, page 67) reported that Southampton had held talks with the Spaniard’s agent regarding a potential move to the Premier League. 

But the allure of Real Madrid may be impossible for De Frutos to ignore.  

Photo by Mateo Villalba/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

In other news, Reported £10m West Ham and Crystal Palace target signs stunning ten-year contract