Valencia star seen as heir to Modric
My piece for MARCA
From the moment Euro 2016 came to an end, Real Madrid have been working hard to make Valencia's Andre Gomes a Blancos player.
Los Che had been hoping to hold for a transfer fee of around €65 million but the Champions League holders hope to tie up the midfielder for closer to €50m up front with around €5-€10m in performance related extras.
Injuries hampered Gomes' progress last season but the midfielder is nonetheless on the radar of many top clubs, including Juventus, Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester United and Chelsea.
He is considered by both the coach Zinedine Zidane and club chiefs to be the perfect alternative to Luka Modric, who the club have struggled to replace when absent in the past and - with the Croat due to turn 31 soon - his long-term heir in the starting XI.
Indeed, Madrid tried to secure the player last summer but were bluntly dismissed when Valencia's response was that no discussions would take place until an offer of €80m was on the table.
Their financial situation is somewhat more precarious now given that Los Che are currently out of European football, but still have to keep in mind financial fair play restrictions as their primary aim is a return to continental competition.
Furthermore, the player is thought to be keen to move up in the world, both in terms of sport and finance, which Valencia are unable to satisfy at present.
Real hope that the relationship between the two clubs - with Valencia owner Peter Lim and Blancos president Florentino Perez both on good terms - will help smooth the passage of any deal to bring the midfielder to the Spanish capital this summer.
ORIGINAL ARTICLE HERE AT MARCA IN ENGLISH