Real Madrid transfer links a surprise to Hajduk Split's Karlo Letica
Hajduk Split goalkeeper Karlo Letica says he has been surprised by speculation about a move to Real Madrid but he is just concentrating on working hard and developing at his current club.
Marca reported on Saturday that Letica, 21, is a summer transfer target for Madrid despite having made just eight senior appearances in the Croatian league.
The Croatia under-21 international then scored a dramatic 95th-minute winner in Hajduk's 3-2 league victory over NK Istra, with teammate Borja Lopez soon also telling Marca that Letica has the potential to play for a bigger club.
But Letica said he has tried not to be distracted by all the attention.
"I saw the cover and what it said, and I turned off my phone," Letica told Marca following the report. "It was the day of a game and I wanted to be relaxed and prepared. I was just thinking about the game against Istra. The news surprised me. That's the truth. Later will be the time to talk. For the moment, I just want to work hard here and help the team."
Madrid are widely expected to sign at least one goalkeeper next summer despite coach Zinedine Zidane regularly placing his faith in Keylor Navas. A proposed move for Athletic Bilbao's Kepa Arrizabalaga broke down in January, and Manchester United's David De Gea, a long-time target, and Chelsea's Thibaut Courtois are also often mentioned in local media speculation.
Asked if Real Madrid had made contact for Letica, who kept seven clean sheets in his first eight senior games, the keeper's agent, Sinisa Soso, said that his client was "in no hurry" as his long-term development was the main consideration at present.
"I can only say that many European clubs have called our agency," Soso said. "We are still only in March. There are two months until the end of the season. ... Karlo is in no hurry. He is playing regularly at Hajduk and that is the most important. When we think of his future, his development and his career will be our primary objectives."
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan