Reports in Spain are tipping Xabi Alonso to exit Real Madrid next summer, amid talk of interest from several major European clubs including Manchester United and Juventus.
ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan reports AS (Spanish) quoting Bernabeu sources in saying that the club will not meet Alonso's demands of an €8-10 million annual salary, and El Confidencial (Spanish) adds that Alonso is no longer taking the president's calls.
Ancelotti: "If he signs or not, Xabi Alonso will play if he's available" http://t.co/DYCEXMZtwp— MARCA in English (@MARCAinENGLISH) December 21, 2013
As speculation over Alonso's future rises, Marca reports manager Carlo Ancelotti saying: "The club has no further information regarding his renewal, but if he signs or not, he is our player until the summer of 2014 and if he is available, he will play."
Alonso has long been regarded as one of European football's best deep-lying midfield playmakers, but he is now 32 and was very much considered one of former manager Jose Mourinho's men in the Real Madrid camp.
With several top European clubs looking for midfield reinforcements, his bargaining position is strong, but with Asier Illarramendi already on the books, the Bernabeu side are understandably unsure about meeting Alonso's demands.
The Daily Star's Jack Wilson reports Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester United as all being interested in securing Alonso's services, with a return to his former Anfield home perhaps appealing to the midfielder as the Reds push towards a Champions League place.
However, it is Juventus who have been most heavily linked with the Spaniard over recent months, as the uncertainty over the future of midfielder Andrea Pirlo continues.
Alonso would be a direct replacement for the Italian were he to depart, as reported by Football Italia, and there is a real possibility of two of Europe's leading midfielders of the past decade moving clubs in the coming months.
Given his ability to control the pace of play and his intelligence in defending counter-attacks—demonstrated over a number of years—Alonso is understandably one of the biggest transfer targets in European football at present.
While his eventual destination remains a mystery, reports out of Madrid would appear to suggest it is increasingly unlikely that we will see Alonso in a Real shirt next season.