Real Madrid are said to have cooled their interest in Tottenham's Christian Eriksen after youngster Federico Valverde's impressive form since returning from his loan at Deportivo La Coruna.
Los Blancos have been widely tipped to make a move for Eriksen in the January window with the Dane yet to pen a new deal in north London ahead of his contract expiring next summer.
Zinedine Zidane's side were also heavily linked with the 27-year-old during the recent transfer window, with those rumours failing to subside after a stuttering start to the season for Mauricio Pochettino's men.
Eriksen has appeared in eight of Spurs' nine Premier League matches this term, although often from the bench with his dip in form attributed to being disillusioned with life at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. Spurs are unwilling to let one of their prized assets leave for free upon the expiry of his deal in June, and could be keen on making a profit before the end of the season.
According the The Sun, however, that deal may be off after Zidane was left hugely impressed with Uruguyan midfielder Valverde, who is seen as the natural successor to Luka Modric in the Madrid midfield.
Valverde has made six appearances for Madrid in La Liga this season and started in the club's recent 1-0 win over Galatasaray in the Champions League on Tuesday. However, it is a story that must be taken with an *extremely* large pinch of salt, given Eriksen is an attacking midfielder and Valverde is defensive - the only similarity is that they operate centrally. The Sun's report also states 'reports in Spain' as their source, so there is no telling where this information has come from.
Former Ajax playmaker Eriksen claimed he was keen on a 'new challenge' early in the summer but eventually remained with the Premier League side after failing to secure a move elsewhere. Due to his current deal nearing its completion, foreign clubs are able to negotiate a pre-contract to sign him on a free from January 1, although this report suggests Madrid have quelled said interest.
It was previously mentioned that Real would need to shift out some fringe players in order to finance a move for Eriksen, who it has been reported Spurs would be willing to part with for a cut-price £30m deal.
It is thought that with a gifted midfielder already in their ranks that they may not need to dip their hands into their pockets during the winter window. However, a player of Eriksen's quality does not come about all too often - or at such a price - and Valverde's emergence may simply be used as a ploy to lower Spurs' asking price for their want away star.
A January departure from north London still appears to be on the cards though, with Paris Saint-Germain also credited with an interest in recent weeks.