There are transfer rumours too outlandish to put any stock into, and then there are those just realistic enough to believe in. The latter category, which often leads to disappointment, is where Liverpool's reported pursuit of Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi falls under. The deep-lying playmaker would be an ideal fit for this Liverpool team, and incessant links throughout the summer have made his signing at least somewhat plausible.
Unfortunately hope of a move to Anfield has taken a major hit. Marca reports that Liverpool offered £13.9 million for Illarramendi, but the midfielder is intent on fighting for his place at Madrid and has rejected a move away in the process. This comes after the appointment of Rafa Benitez as manager has given him a fresh opportunity to make good on the massive transfer fee that brought him over from Real Sociedad in 2013.
While this news is not entirely unexpected given the decline in Illarramendi stories in recent weeks, it's disappointing for Liverpool to miss out on a player with skills that would have complimented the team's key pieces so well. At this point it seems extremely unlikely that a player with similar qualities will come to Anfield this summer, and pre-season tactics indicate that Brendan Rodgers is prepared to deal with an absence of depth in his team's defensive midfield.