Real Madrid have been tipped to trigger the buyout clause of emerging Real Betis left-back Junior Firpo as a long-term replacement for Marcelo, a player who will turn 31 years of age in May and is starting to enter the twilight of his long and illustrious career.
22-year-old Firpo has only been a first team player at Betis since February of last season after previously turning out for the club's B team in the third tier of Spanish football. But he has shined during the last 10 months, so much so Real are apparently ready to pay big money.
According to AS, Real are willing to meet the €50m buyout clause in Firpo's Betis contract to sign him at the end of the season and consider the player a 'priority signing'.
That buyout clause only came into effect in August when Firpo signed a new long-term contract with Betis until 2023. But triggering the clause would ensure Real do not have to negotiate a transfer fee and could secure them a deal ahead of Arsenal and Manchester City, who are also rumoured to be interested.
In the past, Real have shown little hesitation in paying big money for young players if they believe them to be talented enough. Los Blancos famously triggered the €27m buyout clause of a teenage Sergio Ramos back in 2005, while they agreed to pay €45m for newest star Vinicius Junior while he was still only 16 years of age and had barely played any senior football.
However, it is not a tactic that works all the time. The reason Real are in the market for a new long-term left-back is because Theo Hernandez did not live up to his billing following a high profile €25m move across Madrid from city rivals Atletico in the summer of 2017.
Firpo was born in the Dominican Republic but moved to Spain as a child and has represented La Roja at Under-21 international level.