Liverpool have been linked to out of favour Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi off and on since last season ended, with various reports claiming a £16M deal was nearly done or that Liverpool were willing to meet Madrid’s demands or that the Spanish giants were ready to sell. None of this, then, seems especially revelatory.
There are renewed reports out of Spain, though, that Real Madrid are ready to sell Illarramendi. And that they want £16M for him. And that Liverpool are willing to pay that price for the 25-year-old who looked set to become the next Xabi Alonso when he left Sociedad for the Spanish capital only to end up stuck behind galacticos on Madrid’s depth chart.
This time, the added twist to the rumour is that though Madrid had tentatively planned to make Illarramendi available at the end of last season, new manager Rafa Benitez had wanted a chance to review the squad before making the final call. Having now had the chance to do so, the suggestion is that Illarramendi is indeed surplus to requirements and up for sale.
Illarramendi cost Madrid a little more than €32M in 2013, the most they had ever paid for a Spanish player. At the time, with the Euro high, that equated to around £27M. Today, with the Euro low, Madrid’s £16M asking price equates to €22—or about a €10M loss on a player who when they bought him seemed set to become the new anchor for the Spanish national team.
That talent is still there, and for the price Madrid are asking Illarramendi is an absolute bargain. If there’s any truth to the rumours and only thing holding up his sale was giving Rafa the chance to review the squad, one can only hope Liverpool can now close the deal quickly for what would be a very exciting signing.