Real step up van Bommel chase

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Real Madrid are preparing to step up their attempts to land Mark van Bommel.

The Primera giants have been looking to recruit a defensive midfielder ever since Claude Makelele departed El Santiago Bernabeu for Chelsea.

They came close to snaring Patrick Vieira last summer but, when the France international opted to stay at Highbury, they decided against buying a similar player and instead brought in Michael Owen.

However, boss Mariano Garcia Remon has made it clear he feels the club need a specialist holding midfielder, and director of sport Emilio Butragueno has advised club president Florentino Perez to move for van Bommel.

The Dutch midfielder is in the final year of his contract at PSV Eindhoven, and will become a free agent at the end of the season.

The Holland international has steadfastly refused to pen a new deal at the Philips Stadion despite his club's best attempts and is free to negotiate with interested suitors on January 1.

Although Real have made it clear they will not do any business during the transfer window, they will attempt to line up a deal to take van Bommel to the Spanish capital next summer.

Borussia Dortmund and Everton have also been linked with the 27-year-old, but Real would seem his most likely destination if, as expected, they firm up their interest.

Meanwhile, it has also been claimed that Real made a discreet enquiry for Barcelona youngster Andres Iniesta.

It has been reported that a Real intermediary approached the midfielder to discuss the possibility of a move to Real's arch rivals when his contract expires in June 2006.

However, Iniesta made it clear he wanted to stay at Camp Nou, and is in the process of agreeing a new deal.