Liverpool have made it clear to a handful of players this summer that they’re surplus to requirements and that, if they want to actually play football again, they’ll need to move on from the club. An unwanted trio made up of Fabio Borini, Mario Balotelli, and Jose Enrique have been sent to train by themselves and told it’s time to move on.
It’s a situation that exists at any number of clubs across Europe, and the bigger the club, the bigger the names sidelined or frozen out, told they have no chance this season where they are and that it’s time for them to head elsewhere. And for Real Madrid, one of those players is rumoured Liverpool target Asier Illarramendi, who has been told it’s time to move on.
The rumours linking him with a £12-14M Liverpool move never seemed especially solid, but if there ever was any interest in bringing him to Anfield, it would seem as though a bargain could be had. Illarramendi was an exceptionally valuable talent when he arrived at Madrid for €32M in 2013, but he has struggled to find regular minutes ever since.
It had been suggested previously he was available for the right price, but with Rafa Benitez having evaluated his squad and judged Illarramendi surplus to requirements the same as Borini, Balotelli, and Enrique at Liverpool, it’s likely a few million more could be knocked off that right price. In that light, Illarramendi seems a perfect signing for the Reds.
Still only 25 years old, Real Madrid’s tendency to hoard talent means he could now be had for a bargain as he enters his prime footballing years. It means he could be had for a quarter to a third of the price he would go for had he stayed at Real Sociedad and spent the last two seasons with them earning himself a regular place in the Spanish national team.
It also means he would likely be more open to being offered a lifeline by a club like Liverpool who aren’t in the Champions League and are at best on the fringes of any title talk in England. Plus, as a positionally responsible deep-lying playmaker, he fills a position of need. Now there’s only the pesky question of whether Liverpool are actually interested.
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