Real Madrid's pursuit of Wolfsburg defender Ricardo Rodriguez has been handed a big boost after the player stated he was eager to play for a "top, top club" and challenge for titles, but the Spanish giants face stiff competition from Manchester United for his signature.
The Switzerland international is regarded as one of the top full-backs in Europe following some stunning performances for the Bundesliga club domestically and in the UEFA Champions League.
According to a report from German publication Bild (h/t Samuel Stevens of the Independent), it is claimed United are preparing to lock horns with the Madrid giants in order to capture the £23 million-rated 23-year-old. Additionally, it is believed the Swiss wide man's release clause is around that figure.
Per Metro's Mark Brus, the marauding defender, known for his lung-bursting runs down the left flank, defensive awareness and accurate delivery, has voiced his ambition to win silverware in the near future, telling German newspaper Bild: "Wolfsburg is a super club, and I’m still young. But I have a goal, as a football player, and that is to win titles regularly and be playing as a top, top club."
With which club will Rodriguez be playing his football next season?
That admission of intent will alert Europe's elite club managers, with United's Louis van Gaal reportedly interested in the former Zurich player since the leg-break injury Luke Shaw suffered against PSV Eindhoven in the UEFA Champions League in September, per James Cambridge of the Daily Express.
Real also remain long-term admirers. In January, the left-back confirmed that he had not received communication from Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane regarding a possible move to Spain, with Rodriguez claiming to Bild (h/t Goal's Joe Wright): "I've not heard from Real. I don't know if there's anything in it. Even my manager has said nothing to me, so there is nothing new."
Real remain on the outlook for a new left-sided defender due to the persistent injury complaints from regular first-teamer Marcelo this season. The Brazil international has suffered two hamstring injuries and a problem in his shoulder this campaign, per Soccerway, and the Santiago Bernabeu club are in need of further defensive reinforcements.
Footballers, more than ever, understand the significance of the words they say to news outlets. And despite Rodriguez claiming he is happy to remain at a club that has won the Bundesliga just once in their history, his words will have intrigued potential suitors across the globe.
Should he continue to produce consistent performances for Wolfsburg, the full-back could possibly join a brand-new club after the 2016 UEFA European Championships in France this summer.