Real Madrid and Barcelona are among several clubs that are keeping a close eye on Schalke’s rising young star Thilo Kehrer.

Spanish heavyweights and arch-rivals Real Madrid and Barcelona could be set to battle it out for the signature of young Schalke defender Thilo Kehrer, as per reports from Mundo Deportivo.

The 21-year old Kehrer moved to Schalke from the VfB Stuttgart academy back in 2012 and has risen rapidly through the youth ranks. He broke into the first-team in the 2015/16 season, making his debut in a 3-0 win over Wolfsburg in the Bundesliga, which was his only appearance of the campaign.

Kehrer became a regular first-team member for the Gelsenkirchen-based outfit from the next campaign onwards though and has, till date, made 59 appearances across all competitions, scoring four goals and assisting four more.

In the 2017/18 season, the 21-year old appeared 28 times in the Bundesliga, contributing with 3 goals and 2 assists, as Schalke finished as the runners-up in the German top-flight, behind winners Bayern Munich.

The 21-year old was also a part of the Germany U-21 side that lifted the U21 European Championships in 2017. Able to play anywhere across the backline, Kehrer has been touted as one of the finest young talents coming through in Germany. And his rise has put several top clubs on high alert, including Real Madrid and Barcelona.

Real, who went on to lift the UEFA Champions League for the third consecutive time this past season, are currently without a manager, following the departure of Zinedine Zidane.

Set to spark a transfer war? (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Set to spark a transfer war? (Photo by Christof Koepsel/Bongarts/Getty Images)

Club legend and current Real Madrid Castilla boss Guti has been tipped as the favourite to take over the reins at the club, but no official announcement has been made as of yet. However, the Merengues are set to press ahead with their transfer plans for the summer.

The defensive area on the field is somewhat of a concern for the Los Blancos owing to the lack of a proper backup for the first-choice duo of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

Zidane had to rely on utility man Nacho to fill in at the back when needed, while academy graduate Jesus Vallejo hasn’t been totally convincing, which means the club could do with defensive reinforcements over the summer. And Kehrer, despite his age, could prove to be a smart investment for the Spanish capital club.

Barcelona, on the other hand, only signed Colombian starlet Yerry Mina in the January transfer window and are understood to be in talks to bring in Clement Lenglet from Sevilla as well. With Gerard Pique and Samuel Umtiti taking up the first-team slots and Thomas Vermaelen also available as a backup, another new centre-half does seem a bit of a luxury signing for the Catalans, unless there is likely to be a sale in the coming transfer window.

Real and Barca are not the only clubs interested in Kehrer, with Italian champions Juventus also understood to be monitoring the German starlet along with La Liga outfit Valencia as well. The 21-year old’s contract with Schalke runs out next summer and that could prompt the Bundesliga outfit to cash in this summer, should a big offer come in from any of the suitors.

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