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REAL MADRID

Alonso backs Illarramendi deal: "He'd be an excellent addition"

'Los Blancos' will pay Real Sociedad 30 million euros for the player. He will sign a five-year deal and could be unveiled on Wednesday, on Thursday or earlier.

Roberto Ramajo

Asier Illarramendi is set to become Real Madrid’s fourth summer signing. Although both clubs are yet to officially confirm the deal, an agreement is in place between all parties. All that remains is for Madrid and ‘La Real’ to finalise the conditions of payment for the 30 million-euro fee (VAT included) agreed between the clubs.

Real Sociedad had pushed for Madrid to pay in one instalment, while Madrid initially offered to pay in three. On Friday evening, the Basque outfit accepted a compromise payment plan involving two instalments, leaving the way open for the transfer to be completed. The player’s buy-out clause is 30 million euros. However, Madrid will not exercise the clause by paying it in one single deposit to the Spanish Football League, which would incur a 6 million euro fee in VAT, and will instead pay the money directly to the Basque outfit.

On Friday morning, figures at the Real Sociedad offices confirmed the 23-year-old’s departure for the Santiago Bernabéu. “The Illarramendi deal is done, he’s going to Real Madrid,” indicated a reliable source close to the ‘txuri-urdin’ board of directors.

The negotiations over the move have been conducted in person by the clubs’ respective presidents, Florentino Pérez and Jokin Aperribay. The pair have been in constant conversation in recent days. Midway through the past week, Barcelona also contacted the San Sebastián outfit to state their interest in signing the midfielder, but were informed that they were too late: Real Sociedad were already negotiating with Madrid.

The player remains on holiday in the Balearic Islands, and will return to San Sebastián on Sunday. Bahía, the agency which represents the player, have been working to finalise the terms of his contract at Real Madrid. He will sign a five-year deal, the same as Isco, and will quadruple his current salary of 600,000 euros per season. The Spain Under-21 international, who had initially sought 3 million a year at Madrid, will pocketing 2.4 million per campaign.

Illarramendi will be presented as a Real Madrid player in the coming week. Wednesday and Thursday have been pencilled in for his unveiling, but the date could also be moved forward.

Finally, both clubs have met the footballer’s desire for the move reach a swift conclusion. He had requested that the deal be closed before his return to training on 11 July. Once he had decided to make the move to the Spanish capital, he did not wish to report for pre-season at 'La Real' only to have to leave the club shortly afterwards. It is thought that there is a pact in the Real Sociedad dressing room stopping any player from departing Anoeta ahead of the coming Champions League campaign. Nevertheless, Illarramendi is aware that a move to Madrid represents a unique opportunity that he has little option but to take.

Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso, currently undergoing personal training at the Real Sociedad facilities, welcomed the signing of a player already viewed as his long-term successor. Speaking to ‘AS’, the 31-year-old commented: “He’s a good player who would be an excellent addition at Real Madrid, but I prefer not to say anything more.” The Spain international will surely take a leading role in helping Illarramendi to acclimatise at the Bernabéu.

Estadísticas AS.com