Real Madrid are reportedly set to step up their interest in Real Betis midfielder Fabian Ruiz, who is also a summer target for Barcelona.

Spanish publication Don Balon are claiming that Real Madrid are almost desperate to beat Barcelona in the pursuit of Fabian Ruiz. The Real Betis playmaker has been on the radar of the two clubs for a while now. But, Los Blancos are looking to step up their interest in order to beat the La Liga champions-elect to the Spaniard.

Fabian Ruiz emerged from the Real Betis academy setup and the 2017-18 season has truly served as his breakout campaign, with the player establishing himself as a regular within the senior Betis setup while also representing Spain up to the Under-21 level.

The midfielder seems to be following in the footsteps of fellow Real Betis academy graduate Dani Ceballos, who joined Real Madrid after an impressive season for the Beticos. In a turn of events similar to the ones that saw Ceballos join Madrid, both Barcelona and Real Madrid are vying for the 22-year-old’s signature and are set for a summer battle for the midfield engine.

Ruiz though, is a bit different than Ceballos. Ceballos is more of a playmaker and a slightly offensive player while Ruiz is responsible for connecting his teammates and maintaining the dominance in midfield while also bringing a calm demeanour on the pitch.

At Barcelona, the quest is simple – to find a successor to Andres Iniesta. Arthur is set to arrive in the summer, but according to reports, Ernesto Valverde is still seeking a true replacement for Iniesta, with a Spanish player supposed to be the preference. Dani Ceballos could have been the answer, but the midfielder decided to join Real Madrid instead.

In Ruiz though, they could find the perfect man to replace Iniesta. Under Valverde, Iniesta has been deployed on the left of a 4-4-2. Ruiz, like Iniesta, can also take the field as a left midfielder, despite his natural position being through the centre.

Real Madrid though, are also looking to replace Luka Modric and Toni Kroos within the setup. While the former looks destined to leave, most likely to MLS, Kroos has been linked heavily to a move to Manchester, with both Pep Guardiola and Jose Mourinho interested in the German international.

While Ceballos would help cover one of the positions, Ruiz has been earmarked by president Florentino Perez as the man to partner him in the new-look midfield that will form the core of Real Madrid for the coming years.

There are a couple of incentives for Real Madrid to go after Ruiz. Apart from the supposed €30 million price tag, the player is of the same mould as Ceballos, having come through the same Betis setup and thus, could strike a partnership quickly in the middle of the park, with Casemiro serving as the Anchor Man.

Another major reason would be to scupper the chances of Barcelona to find their replacement for Iniesta and handing them another blow in the transfer market.

Will Ruiz be the latest academy graduate to leave Real Betis? (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Will Ruiz be the latest academy graduate to leave Real Betis? (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

The €30 million release clause all but ensures a summer battle for Fabian Ruiz. Barcelona, Real Madrid and perhaps, potential new suitors by the end of the season will aim to add the 22-year-old to their respective squads. One thing is certain, Ruiz’s breakout season at Real Betis is likely to be his last for the club, at least for the time being.

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