Diego Simeone has already seen his club undertake a serious recruitment drive this summer, although the playmaker would be seen as the icing on the cake.
The fact that the transfer window for Premier League clubs is now closed has left Real Madrid with fewer potential buyers, and the only destination that seems clear at this moment is the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano.
Los Blancos had briefly considered using him as a makeweight for a potential deal involving Paul Pogba, however the English window has closed and there is almost no chance that the French midfielder will leave.
There had been interest from Napoli, but Florentino Perez's demands of 50 million euros had put the Italian team off.
The biggest stumbling block to any potential deal is Los Merengues' unwillingness to strengthen their fierce rivals, especially after the 7-3 pre-season defeat in New Jersey.
Real Madrid, though, may have to sell to Atletico if no other club comes up with the money.
If the deadlines comes close