Real Madrid enter race for Sporting midfielder Miguel Veloso - report

Real Madrid are desperate to land Sporting's defensive midfielder Miguel Veloso this summer, according to news daily O JOGO.

The Portugal international has been strongly linked with a new challenge after voicing his desire to compete abroad, and Madrid boss Jose Mourinho is believed to be prepared to grant his wish.

Veloso, a product of Sporting's youth system, is being courted by several high profile clubs across Europe, with Genoa and Milan in Serie A both reported to be keen on his services.

However, fresh speculation in Portugal suggests Real Madrid are now favourites for Veloso's signature, as Mourinho looks to bolster the centre of his midfield before the 2010-11 campaign gets underway.

Madrid have options in Lass Diarra, Mahamadou Diarra and Fernando Gago, but it is thought Mourinho is not convinced with the trio and could let at least two of them move on if he were to acquire Veloso.

The self-proclaimed 'Special One' is an admirer of Veloso's qualities, having looked into the possibility of signing him during his time at the helm of reigning European Champions Inter Milan.

Sporting have already indicated they could part with Veloso in the summer, as they look to generate funds for their own summer shopping spree. It's speculated Madrid are willing to part with €10 million (£8.9m), and offer Royston Drenthe on loan, in a bid to lure Veloso to La Liga.

The Portuguese club are open to the idea of acquiring Drenthe in return, but with the Lions baulking at his salary at the Santiago Bernabeu, they will have to convince Madrid to pay part of his wages on top of any deal.

Veloso's agent Jorge Mendes, who also represents Mourinho and Cristiano Ronaldo, was reportedly in the Spanish capital on Friday, possibly in negotiations with the Merengues for the 24-year-old.

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