Midfielder Mateo Kovacic's fine displays in Real Madrid's Spanish Super Cup triumph over Barcelona have pushed Marcos Llorente closer to the Santiago Bernabéu exit door in search of first-team football.
Kovacic ahead of Llorente in holding-midfielder pecking order
After excelling on loan at Alavés last term, Real youth product Llorente returned to the club this summer with a view to offering a like-for-like alternative to regular anchorman Casemiro, but has found himself trailing Kovacic in the pecking order.
Having left Casemiro on the bench for the Super Cup second leg in midweek, Real coach Zinedine Zidane opted to field Kovacic in his place, while the versatile Croat also got the nod to step in for central midfielder Luka Modric in Sunday's first leg.
Sevilla most keen, with enquiries from Atlético and Arsenal
Llorente, meanwhile, has failed to make the squad for any of Real's three competitive fixtures in the opening stages of the 2017/18 season, and is thought to be weighing up his immediate future - with the 22-year-old not short on suitors in the wake of his impressive campaign at Alavés.
Sevilla are the club to have shown the greatest interest, but Diario AS understands there have also been enquiries from the likes of Atlético Madrid and Arsenal. Real would be expected to seek a loan, or include a buy-back option were the Spain Under-21 international to depart on a permanent deal.
Kovacic established as trusted midfield man
Kovacic has won over the LaLiga and Champions League holders' fans with his performances, and was given a standing ovation by the Bernabéu as the hosts sealed a 5-1 aggregate victory over Barça on Wednesday night.
He has become a go-to man for Zidane, with the numbers bearing out that trust in him: in 75 games for the club, he has been on the losing side just four times - and Los Blancos have not suffered defeat in any of the 38 matches he has started.
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