Over the past week or so there have been many reports in Spain surrounding the future of Asier Illarramendi. The 24 year old hasn't exactly been a huge success at Real Madrid and it's not usually the type of club where players get a few seasons to be able to prove themselves. Madrid brought in Lucas Silva from Brazil and that's pushed Illarramendi a little further out of the picture over the long term. When everyone is fit and Lucas Silva is settled, it's difficult to see how the boy from the Basque gets into the Real Madrid team.
Madrid's plan, according to their local press, had been to send Illarramendi to Athletic Bilbao for quite a bit more than they paid for Lucas Silva, around €24m. That would have seen Madrid make a loss but over the two deals they'd feel they came out pretty well and with the player they preferred.
The problem for Madrid was, and still is, that Illarramendi didn't fancy going to Athletic. His old club Real Sociedad wanted him too, and still do, although they'd find it harder to bring together the finances to allow David Moyes to make the signing.
El Confidencial, usually excellent on Madrid, say on Saturday that the only other club set to come in for Illarramendi is Liverpool. They reckon the Merseyside club will make a move in the summer and could even ask former player Xabi Alonso for advice first. El Confidencial don't think Liverpool will offer €24m for Illarramendi but something close. Anyway, let's say they went the whole way to €24m - it's only about £18m at today's exchange rates.