Barcelona may not be ready to make a move for the Premier League's leading goalscorer Robin van Persie but Real Madrid are ready to swoop on the Arsenal captain.
La Liga giants Real Madrid are ready to make the first moves for the Dutch international who is also a target of rivals Barca, according to the Daily Mirror.
Influential Spanish paper Marca says Real coach Jose Mourinho tried to sign Van Persie while in charge at previous club Inter Milan, and the Bernabeu giants will still go for him even if the ex-Chelsea boss leaves, as has been reported, this summer.
Van Persie has been hailed as "world class" by Gunners manager Arsene Wenger because of his brilliant form this season and the Dutchman is the club’s prize asset.
Arsenal are keen to negotiate a new deal with Van Persie, whose current contract expires in 2013, but the striker may wait until he discovers their long term ambition.
Barcelona had dismissed reports linking the Spanish champions with summer moves for Van Persie despite intense speculation over a possible deal for the Dutch striker, who has scored a staggering 28 goals in all competitions this season.
“Nothing exists with Robin van Persie,” said Barcelona vice-president Josep Maria Bartomeu after Saturday’s 2-1 win over Real Sociedad. “They are rumours that appear in the newspapers. We have not contacted Arsenal, nor his agent.
“Our focus is now on the Liga and Copa del Rey. It’s necessary to be focused on the task at hand and not be distracted by the transfer market."
Van Persie scored a hat-trick during the 7-1 demolition of Blackburn Rovers on Saturday to take his Premier League tally to 22 and they are lined up against Sunderland on Saturday.