Transfer talk: Real Madrid in on Riquelme-esque Boca teen Bentancur; Spurs strike out on Martinez

Real Madrid are nearing a deal for Boca Juniors 18-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur, while €30 million apparently wasn't enough for Atletico Madrid to sell Jackson Martinez to Tottenham.

Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane shown at a press conference following a team training session last weekend. Emilio Naranjo / EPA / January 16, 2016
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Marca reports Real Madrid can complete a deal "in a matter of hours" for Boca Juniors 18-year-old Rodrigo Bentancur.

The Uruguayan has been a mainstay for Boca in this, his first full season in the senior side, and Spanish paper Marca says he could cost as much as €10 million (Dh40.3m) to bring across the Atlantic. The deal, goes the report, "has nothing to do with events at Real Madrid last week involving a Fifa transfer ban," indicating the penalty, to lock Real out of the transfer market the next two windows, would not affect this signing.

Read more: The National's Transfer Talk page

The 6ft 0in attacking midfielder is skilled on the ball and considered a future playmaker, but it is unlikely he would have any immediate impact at Madrid. His most high-profile moment for Boca so far was an errant pass that led directly to the late winning goal for San Lorenzo in Boca’s 1-0 Argentine Primera Division loss in September.

Writing for Argentina's La Nacion, Ariel Ruya calls the player "elegant" with the "size of Lucho Gonzalez and the movements of Roman Riquelme".

But, as Ruya notes, right now Bentancur “is not a cover boy, he is not a popular kid.

“Real Madrid is betting on his future”.

Bentancur would, officialy, be Zinedine Zidane’s first signing as Real Madrid manager.

Also see: Diego Forlan pays tribute to Juan Roman Riquelme, an artist and a striker's dream

Tottenham Hotspur

Even an aggressive €30 million (Dh121m) bid is not apparently enough for Atletico Madrid to sell Jackson Martinez to Tottenham Hotspur, according to a Spanish report.

Marca reports Spurs "tried to pull off a lightning move" for the 29-year-old Colombian, who has two goals and three assists for La Liga leaders Atletico in 14 league appearances this season.

"They even went directly to the club, bypassing intermediaries and agents," the report goes on, underscoring Tottenham's seriousness. The Premier League club have been publicly in the market for a true striker to join Harry Kane up front since last winter, and have been linked to the likes of Javier Hernandez and Saido Berahino.

Their play for Martinez, however, was not enough for a club in Atletico who paid €35m for the former FC Porto star in the summer. Marca also notes that with Atletico “slapped with a Fifa transfer ban ... the club now looks intent on keeping hold of its current crop of players”.

Meanwhile, following up on a Sun report last week that indicated Mauricio Pochettino's Spurs were also after in-form Toulouse forward Wissam Ben Yedder, the Mirror claims Tottenham are targeting the 'hotshot' for £7.5 million (Dh39m).

But, similar to the difficulties Tottenham ran into with their pursuit of West Bromwich Albion’s Berahino, Toulouse president Olivier Sadran was quoted by the Mirror saying Ben Yedder would not leave until the summer.

“He will go in conditions that are attractive to him. More interesting than today, more choices and financially better. We have to keep him,” Sadran said.

Ben Yedder, 25, has scored seven goals with three assists in 18 matches in Ligue 1 this season for Toulouse. He does, however, profile as more of an attacking central midfielder, the sort of not-quite-pure-striker Spurs already purchased twice in the summer in Son Heung-min and Clinton N'Jie.

Tottenham have long been in the market for a centre forward after the expensive, high-profile failures of Roberto Soldado and Emmanuel Adebayor in the last year.


Everton are playing hard ball over a potential sale of Romelu Lukaku, according to the Sun. The Belgian striker is in a rich vein of form and has reportedly been monitored by English clubs including Manchester United and European giants Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain.

However, Everton have slapped a £65 million price tag on his head, the Sun says.

*Press Association

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