Tottenham Hotspur fear that manager Mauricio Pochettino could be tempted to leave the club in favour of Real Madrid, after the Argentine admitted that his side were not ready to challenge for the Premier League title.
Speaking after the side's 2-1 loss against Burnley, Pochettino claimed that Tottenham were out of the title race and even stated that it could take up to ten years for him to build a squad with a winning mentality.
He is tired of being criticised for failing to win silverware, and wants the financial backing from the board to be able to build a contending squad. Tottenham have not signed a new first-team player since January 2018, when Lucas Moura joined the club from Paris Saint-Germain.
Pochettino is said to have been eager to talk with Real last summer, but chairman Daniel Levy blocked all contact between the two parties. However, Real remain keen and Tottenham are aware that they are prepared to part with over £40m to bring the Argentine to the Bernabeu next summer.
Despite their status as one of Europe's elite sides, Real have endured an incredibly tumultuous season. An abysmal start to the season saw manager Julen Lopetegui replaced by Santiago Solari, but Real's fortunes have remained varied.
Los Blancos find themselves third in La Liga, nine points behind leaders Barcelona. They are also out of the Copa del Rey after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of Ernesto Valverde's side on Wednesday.
Real are keen to bring in a manager who will be able to help rectify the side's problems, which has led them to Pochettino. The Tottenham boss is also on Manchester United's radar but should the Red Devils opt to hire Ole Gunnar Solskjaer on a permanent basis, Real could face little competition for Pochettino.