River Plate youngster Exequiel Palacios is the latest up-and-coming South American gem to attract interest from La Liga giants Barcelona and Real Madrid.

Spanish publication Sport are claiming another brewing battle between Barcelona and Real Madrid for one more South American wonderkid. River Plate youngster Exequiel Palacios is drawing interest from the La Liga duo along with Inter Milan, who are reportedly leading the race for the young Argentine.

20-year-old Exequiel Palacios has been a late bloomer, of sorts, judging by the prodigious talents that have been discovered in South America in the recent past. The midfielder has become a household name within the River Plate first-team though, emerging from their academy setup before breaking through in 2017.

With the Argentine National Team undergoing a makeover, so to say, Exequiel Palacios was handed his senior international debut in September against Guatemala, a match where he vindicated caretaker manager Lionel Scaloni’s decision by recording his first assist for the senior team in a 3-0 win.

Palacios added to his debut with 54 minutes against Colombia. His debut for the Argentine senior team, coupled with his form for River Plate has drawn attention from Europe. While Inter Milan lead the race for the 20-year-old, Barcelona and Real Madrid are also keen on the midfielder.

Name. Promise. Legacy. (Picture Courtesy - AFP/Getty Images)

Name. Promise. Legacy. (Picture Courtesy – AFP/Getty Images)

Barcelona signed Arturo Vidal and Arthur Melo to beef up their midfield in the summer. Andre Gomes was shipped to Everton. But, Denis Suarez is likely to exit as well, with the midfielder not really getting minutes under his belt at the Nou Camp. To add to it, Ivan Rakitic has been brilliant this season so far but is constantly linked with a move away from the club.

Real Madrid’s troubles know no boundaries. Their insistence to not bring in anyone to mitigate Cristiano Ronaldo’s departure in the summer has seen them struggle to put up numbers on the scoreboard and on the points table. Their latest warning sign was a 5-1 thrashing at the hands of arch rivals Barcelona, a defeat that many are speculating to be the last nail in Julen Lopetegui’s coffin.

In midfield, Real Madrid have adequate numbers. But, Toni Kroos is a target for PSG while Luka Modric has not been anywhere near his brightest this season so far. Exequiel Palacios is also a profile that fits Florentino Perez’s recently established criteria towards building a team for the future.

River Plate president Rodolfo D’Onofrio has already fired a warning shot to the suitors, stating that the club do not intend to part ways with the young midfielder.

Still, interest from Barcelona, Real Madrid and Inter Milan will be reassuring for Exequiel Palacios, who seems to be growing in stature with each passing day.

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