Liverpool looking to land Real Madrid misfit Asier Illarramendi
Liverpool, 9/1 with Coral to win the Europa League, could be set to make a bargain Basque buy this summer, as reports in Spain suggest the Reds are primed to swoop for Real Madrid midfield shield Asier Illarramendi.
Once tipped to be the heir to former Liverpool and Los Blancos anchorman Xabi Alonso’s throne, misfit Madrid man Illarramendi has failed to hit the heights expected of him since a 2013 summer switch and is clearly lacking confidence.
The talented 24-year-old began his career with boyhood club Real Sociedad, where his composed conducting from deep garnered many admirers, but being tidy in possession is not enough for the demanding Bernabeu.
Often criticised for playing it safe, the Spaniard has struggled to settle among the superstars at the capital club and a regular starting spot has remained elusive.
Limited to just four full games in La Liga this season, the writing appears to be on the wall for Illarramendi, especially after Carlo Ancelotti’s recent capture of Lucas Silva.
The Brazilian deep lying playmaker has impressed since his winter window move to Madrid, forcing Illarramendi even further down the pecking order. With Sami Khedira set to return from injury and the likes of Toni Kroos ahead of him, it may now be time for the former Sociedad schemer to move on.
A return to San Sebastien to play for new Royals boss David Moyes could be on the cards and appeared likely after Illarramendi reportedly rejected a transfer to Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao.
However, Sociedad’s hopes of retrieving their academy product from Real may have been scuppered by Liverpool’s apparent interest.
Illarramendi is supposedly attracted to the prospect of reigniting his career in the Premier League, and could follow compatriot Alonso’s example by relocating to Anfield.
The Reds could certainly use a calming influence to help orchestrate from deep, with skipper Steven Gerrard headed for an exit this summer.
Brendan Rodgers could be the perfect coach to rebuild Illarramendi’s confidence, and the defensive midfielder could certainly thrive if trusted to be a key player in Liverpool’s campaign.
Rumours suggest the deep lying playmaker could be available at a cut price fee, as Los Blanocs prepare to clear the decks ahead of yet another summer shopping spree.
Apparently up for sale for around £12m, Illarramendi could prove to be a brilliant buy if Liverpool, 15/8 for a Premier League top four finish, decide to take a punt on the highly-rated talent.