Spanish giants Real keen on Cole

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Spanish titans Real Madrid have reportedly decided on Arsenal star Ashley Cole as their number one choice to replace Roberto Carlos.

The ageing Brazilian international may leave the Bernabeu in the summer after admitting he is keen to return to his home country, and Los Merengues are believed to have lined up Cole to fill the potential void.

The England star signed a new deal with The Gunners in the summer after a damaging dalliance with Premiership rivals Chelsea, but his publicly aired animosity towards the Highbury hierarchy means his future in North London is under debate.

Cole, currently sidelined with a fractured foot, is one of Arsene Wenger's most reliable lieutenants and the latest rumours from Spain come hot on the heels of constant speculation linking captain Thierry Henry with Barcelona.

The Catalans have also been long term admirers of Cole's talents, but reports in the Spanish media suggest that the Gunners star would be open to a move to Madrid.

However Cole's agent Jonathan Barnett has denied knowing of any interest from the Liga giants.

"We've heard nothing about Real Madrid," Barnett told

Spanish reports suggest that Los Merengues could snare their man in the summer for ‚é¼15 million (£10.3 million), but The Gunners would be loath to lose a potential future captain and one of world football's finest full backs.

Meanwhile Los Merengues are also being linked with a move for Osasuna starlet Raul Garcia.

The 19-year-old has emerged from the shadow of namesake Pablo Garcia after his own summer move to the Bernabeu, and has excited Real's scouts with some impressive performances in La Liga.

Ironically a deal of ‚é¼12 million (£8.3 million) plus the Uruguayan international has been mooted as Real continue to rebuild their underachieving squad.