It would appear that the Spanish giants Real Madrid are chasing 21-year old Gremio central defender/full back Mario Fernandes. This rumor seems to have some legs considering it came directly from the mouth of Gremio sporting director Paulo Pelaipe. Always a better source than some drivel in the Daily Mail or something...not that I'm trying to single anyone out of course.
Pelaipe's comments were made during an interview on the radio station Cadena COPE. He stated that his club are waiting to see what Madrid offer before deciding on a course of action. He also revealed that a €12 million bid from CSKA Moscow has already been rejected. If the likes of Madrid are hovering around for the services of Fernandes, Gremio and Pelaipe are smart to wait things out a bit. Pelaipe also mentioned there is interest from the wonderfully cryptic, "several Italian teams". Well played sir.
There's no question there is serious for interest for Fernandes services, he's been linked with major clubs across the globe including Bayern Munich, Manchester United, Juventus, Internazionale, FC Barcelona F.C.Porto, Ajax and of course Madrid. I think it's pretty clear that Pelaipe knows what he has on his hands with Fernandes and he's making a clever and strategic move to "encourage" whatever interest is out there in an attempt to maximize his clubs profit from a potential transfer. Nothing wrong with playing the game.
Real Madrid did respond with an official statement, apparently reacting to Pelaipe's statements and the subsequent media reports:
Given the information published about a supposed interest of our club to incorporate the player Mário Fernandes, Real Madrid CF denies that has been in contact with his club and has made an offer for their rights.
Essentially it sounds like Gremio will be content to wait until the transfer window opens in January and see if their sporting director's comments can incite a potentially beneficial bidding war for the young Brazilian. Honestly, why not considering all the apparent interest that is out there.
Fernandes began his youth career with São Caetano before joining Gremio in 2006. He made is first team debut in 2009 and has since made 41 appearances for the Brazilian club.
For more on Los Merengues, check out Real Madrid blog Managing Madrid.