Real Madrid have reportedly switched their attention to AS Roma star Alisson Becker as their priority goalkeeping target this summer as they seek a more cost-effective alternative to David De Gea or Thibaut Courtois.
Catalan newspaper El Mundo Deportivo (h/t Football Espana) reported Alisson now leads Real's list of potential goalkeeping recruits ahead of the summer window, with president Florentino Perez monitoring the Brazilian's progress.
Former Internacional star Alisson is set to travel to the 2018 FIFA World Cup as Brazil's first-choice stopper this summer, and it appears Real now prefer him over Manchester United's De Gea or Chelsea's Courtois.
These reports have emerged a day after Alisson's agent, Ze Maria Neis, made an Instagram post concluding business at Roma's headquarters. Football Italia translated the caption to mean: “Growing partnership! Here at Roma to look after the interests of our athlete Alisson Becker!”
It's suggested in the report that negotiations are underway for Alisson to sign a new contract with Roma complete with a release clause, adding that Liverpool are already ready to pay €50 million (£44.3 million) for the player.
He's one of several goalkeepers who's been linked with a move to Anfield in recent months along with Stoke City's Jack Butland. Football writer Sam Maguire contrasted his attributes this term against those currently at or linked with Liverpool of late:
Real are looking to replace Costa Rican 'keeper Keylor Navas in between the sticks, and Alisson's performances this season have been those of a player edging further into that elite bracket of talents.
The Giallorossi have kept 16 clean sheets from the 36 appearances Alisson has made in goal this season, and Italian football writer David Amoyal argued he could be the best Serie A has to offer:
Roma boast the fourth-best defence in the Italian top flight this season and the second-best away from home, conceding only eight times away from the Stadio Olimpico—only Napoli have conceded fewer away (seven).
The 25-year-old has already earned 22 caps for Brazil and would likely make for a more fashionable steward than Navas, who appears to have lost support in Madrid despite helping win successive UEFA Champions League titles.
Real's pursuit of Alisson may rest on the outcome of any reported contract negotiations, which promise to significantly increase his cost should he pen new terms in Italy's capital.