Real Madrid have made contact and held talks over a potential transfer of Fabian Ruiz from Napoli, according to ESPN.

The first meeting between the two clubs took place last month and the negotiations are still at a very early stage, but the Spanish giants will have found it encouraging that the midfielder apparently prefers the Santiago Bernabeu to other potential destinations. Manchester City have shown serious interest in Riuz as a potential replacement for David Silva, who is in his final season with the Premier League champions, as have Barcelona who are desperately trying to create a new-look midfield. Ruiz would like to be in Madrid to be ‘closer to home’, and he believes he would be treated well there.

However, his contract with Napoli does not contain a buyout clause and Real will therefore have to agree a fee with the Serie A side, which won’t be easy given the reputation of club president Aurelio De Laurentiis as a tough negotiator. But it is believed the price would reach somewhere between €80 million and €100 million, depending on the 23-year-old’s performances this season.

ESPN also say that some at Real would prefer this transfer to that of Manchester United’s Paul Pogba.