Real Madrid have reportedly expressed an interest in signing Palmeiras midfielder Gabriel Menino, who has been heavily linked with a move to Chelsea.

According to a report from Spanish outlet El Gol Digital, Real Madrid have set their sights on Brazilian midfielder Gabriel Menino ahead of the summer transfer window as they look for a long-term replacement for Casemiro.

Menino came through the youth ranks at Brazilian outfit Palmeiras and burst into the first-team last season, immediately becoming an important member of the side. Indeed, the 20-year-old featured 54 times in all competitions, scoring four goals and setting up seven more as Palmeiras went on to win the Copa Libertadores and the Brazilian Cup.

Menino has continued in his impressive ways this season as well, featuring ten times so far across all competitions. Primarily a central midfielder, the youngster has demonstrated immense versatility so far, as he has been used as a No. 10, or out on the flanks and even as a full-back on several occasions so far in his budding career.

Now, Menino’s progress over the past couple of years has alerted Real Madrid, who are now considering the possibility of swooping for him in the summer. The Merengues are looking at the 20-year-old Palmeiras star as someone who can ease some of the burden off of midfield mainstay Casemiro, with manager Zinedine Zidane having no viable alternative for the Brazilian.

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With Casemiro now closing in on 30, Real Madrid are looking for players to reduce their dependence on him and eventually take over in the long run. Renato Tapia is someone who has been linked of late while Menino has now emerged as a target for the reigning La Liga champions. With Luka Modric and Toni Kroos also not getting any younger, the Brazilian has the potential to be a fine addition to Zidane’s side.

However, Real Madrid could be set to face serious competition for the signing of Menino from Premier League giants Chelsea. The Blues have been hot on the trails of the 20-year-old for a while now. In fact, some reports from Brazil have also claimed that the Londoners already have a deal in place to secure the midfielder’s services from Palmeiras.

In addition to Chelsea, the report also mentions that Real Madrid’s neighbours Atletico Madrid are also keeping tabs on him, as are Liverpool and Borussia Dortmund. It further states that an offer of €9 million could be enough to secure the services of Menino, with the midfielder himself preferring to play for Real Madrid, where he would link up with compatriot and friend Vinicius Junior.

It now remains to be seen if the La Liga champions are able to complete the signing of the 20-year-old or are beaten to his transfer by Chelsea or the other interested clubs.

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