Chelsea and Manchester United look to have received an early Christmas present from Real Madrid as the Spanish giants have agreed a £22m deal for Athletic Bilbao's goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga, suggesting Thibaut Courtois and David de Gea could be off their wishlist.
Chelsea stopper Courtois has been at the centre of increasing speculation linking him back with a move to Spain as his contract with the club is set to expire in 18 months, whilst Madrid's long-term target de Gea remains part of the furniture at Manchester United.
According to the Mirror, Arrizabalaga is out of contract with Athletic Bilbao at the end of the season, but Zinedine Zidane's side rate the 23-year-old so highly that they are paying a premium on top of the his release clause to ensure the deal allows the stopper to move in January.
After earning his first senior international cap for Spain in November, Arrizabalaga is set for a bright future in the game, but Real Madrid may still re-enter the market for long-term stopper dependent on the progress the 23-year-old shows.
As a result, Real Madrid will continue to debate their goalkeeping ranks, but for Chelsea and Manchester United the arrival of Arrizabalaga at the Bernabeu comes as a major boost to their chances of holding onto their key players.
The Spanish giants have previously failed to sign De Gea, despite a series of bids as United held firm to their star player. United's reluctance to part with their Spanish keeper led to suggestions that Courtois could be easier to lure as his children live in Spain - however, Paris Saint-Germain are said to be keeping a watchful eye over the future of the Chelsea stopper.