Real Madrid have turned their attentions to Bayer Leverkusen goalkeeper Bernd Leno since the club believes its chances of prying David de Gea away from Manchester United are increasingly unlikely.
De Gea has yet to sign a contract extension with United, with his current deal set to expire next summer. However, the player’s agent Jorge Mendes believes the Spanish goalkeeper is “happy” at the club and will ultimately decide to stay in Manchester.
Real Madrid have made it clear they want to sign De Gea, with club seeing the young Spain international as their future number one. But they can’t guarantee the United player a starting position next season since first-choice goalkeeper Iker Casillas continues to perform well, and is still tied to the club until 2017; Madrid also have Keylor Navas signed until 2020.
On Friday, Carlo Ancelotti addressed the speculation surround Casillas’ future in Real Madrid. The manager said: “Iker was very clear, he wants to stay. We want him to. I want him to.”
With that in mind, Madrid have been monitoring the progress of Bayer Leverkusen’s Bernd Leno and have gone so far as to contact the German club regarding the player’s availability.
Leverkusen are reportedly willing to open negotiations since the Bundesliga club needs to sell at least one of its star players each season in order to balance their books.
Leno’s current deal with Leverkusen is set to expire in June 2018, but the goalkeeper has a buy-out clause of £13 million.
It is understood officials at Real Madrid rate Leno highly and believe negotiations for the player’s rights will progress without any hitches.
The 23-year-old made his Bundesliga debut in August 2011 for Leverkusen while on-loan from VfB Stuttgart.
Leno became only the third goalkeeper in league history to keep clean sheets in his first three Bundesliga starts. His transfer to Leverkusen was made permanent a few months later.
That season, Leno also made his Champions League debut against Chelsea at the age of nineteen. At the time, the German shot stopper was the youngest goalkeeper to have ever played in Europe’s top club competition.
Leno has also played for Germany at each of the national team’s youth levels.
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