Tottenham weigh up Asier Illarramendi against Southampton’s Victor Wanyama [Guardian]

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The Guardian will get many Tottenham fans excited after they have reported a possible move for Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi.

As the transfer window closes, Illarramendi could well become one of those players who has his name linked to everyone.

Despite being a quality midfielder, Illarramendi is surplus to requirements at the Santiago Bernabeu. Simply put, he has little chance of getting in the first team as Luka Modric, Mateo Kovacic and Toni Kroos are all above him in the pecking order.

Illarramendi was completely absent from Real’s squad in their opener against Gijon last weekend, while even Casemiro made the bench.

With his options of football looking incredibly bleak in Madrid, the Guardian have linked Spurs with a possible move. They report:

Tottenham Hotspur are weighing up a move for the Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi, who is surplus to requirement at the Bernabéu. The London club want to sign a commanding defensive midfielder and they also have an interest in Southampton’s Victor Wanyama.

With a week left in the transfer window, Spurs need to get a hurry on if they are to make a deal happen.

Whether Spurs land Illarramendi or Southampton’s Wanyama, the narrative being painted is that Tottenham are weak in their central midfielder positions. While that maybe true, some could argue that a more pressing issue is Spurs’ lack of goals, and perhaps a forward is needed more urgently.

Real Sociedad are currently looking like the favourites to sign Illarramendi, as David Moyes wants the player to return to his former club.

Arsenal & Liverpool preparing bids for £16m rated Asier Illarramendi [Mundo Deportivo]

Following the recent signing of Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan, Real Madrid are looking to offload central midfielder Asier Illarramendi.

Signed from Real Sociedad for a whopping €32m in 2013, Illarramendi has made only 25 league starts for ‘Los Blancos’ during a frustrating spell.

David Moyes’ Real Sociedad are favourites to re-sign him this summer but there is also interest from Athletic Bilbao as well as Premier League clubs Liverpool and Arsenal, according to Mundo Deportivo.

Arsenal are reportedly still in the market for a defensive midfielder whilst Liverpool are still trying to fill the massive whole left by Steven Gerrard.

Having come through the Real Sociedad youth academy, the 25-year-old midfielder has failed to make his grade at the Bernabeu and looks destined to leave in the next 12 days.

He would provide stuff competition for Arsenal’s current defensive midfielder Francis Coquelin.

Asier Illarramendi was filmed scoring a fantastic chilena in Real Madrid training yesterday.

Juventus, not Liverpool, are in pole position to sign Asier Illarramendi [Gazzetta dello Sport]

Italian news outlet La Gazzetta dello Sport are reporting on Thursday that Juventus, and not Liverpool, seem to be at the head of the queue to sign Asier Illarramendi from Real Madrid.

Illarramendi is widely considered to be up for sale at the Santiago Bernabeu, particularly after the purchase of Mateo Kovacic from Inter Milan this week.

25-year-old Illarramendi was already struggling to get into the team ahead of Toni Kroos and Luka Modric, and now his first team chances seem ever more remote.

Illarramendi is known to want to stay at Real in an effort to beat the odds and become a first teamer, however that option appears to be dwindling.

Juventus have had a turbulent summer with regards to midfielders, notably the departures of Andrea Pirlo and Arturo Vidal, while Sami Khedira has already picked up an injury since moving to Turin from Madrid.

In that regard, Gazzetta report that Juventus have spoken to Real about Illarramendi, while Marca add that Liverpool and Real Sociedad are also in the frame.

Liverpool set to offer Real Madrid €22m for midfielder Asier Illarramendi [Marca]

According to the top story on Marca’s front page on Sunday, Liverpool set to offer Real Madrid €22m for midfielder Asier Illarramendi.

Before dipping further into the detail, it’s worth looking at the origin of the transfer rumours.

Finchjas.net, a Spanish website that vomits out shedloads of baseless transfer scoops, were the first to report Liverpool’s interest in Illarramendi a couple of week ago.

The deep-lying midfielder has struggled for game time since moving to the Spanish capital: Real splashed over 30m euros on the midfielder when they signed him from Real Sociedad two seasons ago, he’s since racked up 90 appearances in all competitions.

Metro – another media source that struggles for credibility – then reported Liverpool would pay Madrid the €22m they were looking for for Illarramendi, and now today the story has appeared on the front page of Marca.

Of course, it’s true that Illarramendi’s future at the Santiago Bernabeu looks difficult, with the likes of Toni Kroos, James Rodriguez, Luka Modric and Isco all above him in the midfielder pecking order. Yet whether Illarramendi is right for Liverpool is questionable.

Moreover, it’s worth noting that at the time of the original Illarramendi story surfaced, the Reds were yet to sign James Milner, but after picking up the Man City midfielder on a free, it’s doubtful whether Liverpool will spend so much money on an out-of-favour Real Madrid leftover.

Asier Illarramendi would love to join Liverpool, Arsenal also interested [Marca]

Despite playing the full 90 minutes today in the 3-0 win over Eibar, Asier Illarramendi is considered on the fringes of the Real Madrid first team at the moment.

Under Carlo Ancelotti, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric form Real Madrid’s first choice central midfield.

The arrival of Brazilian Lucas Silva in January appears to have pushed Illarramendi further away from nailing down a first team place with Los Blancos.

On Saturday, Madrid-based paper Marca seemed pretty certain that Illarramendi will leave the Bernabeu this summer and predict the Premier League as his most likely destination.

Arsenal and Liverpool are cited as the most likely clubs to sign Illarramendi in the coming months.

Arsene Wenger has been watching Illarramendi for a number of seasons now and the Gunners are often linked with the deep lying playmaker.

Surprisingly, Marca feel Liverpool are the favourites to sign Illarramendi.

Their commitment seems real, according to Marca, and if they present a good deal to Real Madrid, the move could happen.

Illarramendi reportedly loves the idea of playing at Anfield and even if Liverpool are not in the Champions League next season, he is still keen.

Marca add that if Carlo Ancelotti remains as Real Madrid coach, Illarramendi will almost certainly leave.

The only eventuality that could see him stay at the Bernabeu is if Zinedine Zidane (a big fan of the former Real Sociedad player) replaces Ancelotti.

Asier Illarramendi shows off his brand new BMW i8 car after Real Madrid training [Video]

Asier Illarramendi showed off his brand spanking new BMW i8 car as he was leaving Real Madrid training today.

The obscenely luxurious car is the kind of automobile that Batman might consider too flashy. It’s that damn nice. Illarramendi was training with his club because he wasn’t called up by Spain boss Vincente del Bosque.

He’s actually never received a full cap for Spain despite being one of the most expensive Spanish footballers of all time. At least he has a nice car.

Liverpool keen on Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi [El Confidencial]

It seems almost certain that Asier Illarramendi will leave Real Madrid this summer.

The Spanish midfielder has failed to establish himself as a Real Madrid first teamer since joining from Real Sociedad in the summer before the 2013/2014 season.

Despite the recent injury to Luka Modric, Illarramendi was still unable to nail down a starting position in Carlo Ancelotti’s side with Brazilian Lucas Silva joining from Cruzeiro.

On Thursday, Spanish newspaper El Confidencial report that Liverpool are tracking developments regarding the deep-lying midfielder.

According to El Confidencial, Liverpool will challenge Athletic Bilbao – who tried to sign Illarramendi in the January transfer window and Real Sociedad, his former club.

Much will depend on where Liverpool finish this season with a Champions League spot either through the Europa League or a top four Premier League finish, key to snaring Illarramendi.

El Confidencial add that Xabi Alonso has urged Illarramendi to join Liverpool and that the style of play in the Premier League may suit the 24-year-old.

With so many young, quick and technical players already at Anfield, Liverpool would be improved immensely with a player that can pass as well as Asier Illarramendi.

Athletic Bilbao ready to offer Real Madrid up to €25 million for Asier Illarramendi [Marca]

Athletic Bilbao are willing to part with up to €25 million in order to sign Asier Illarramendi from Real Madrid, according to Spanish site Marca.

Madrid weren’t planning on selling anyone but this offer is an extremely tempting one for a player who many feel has flopped at the Bernabeu.

Illarramendi joined Madrid in 2013 in a move worth up to €32.2 million. He was coming off the back of a breakthrough season for Real Sociedad and was tipped as a successor in the midfield to Xabi Alonso.

This didn’t work out as Illarramendi reportedly suffered from anxiety attacks and other issues to do with his nerves. He was struggling to adapt to the standard that is expected at one of the world’s biggest clubs.

He has made 70 appearances for the club in all competitions but a large chunk of those have come from the bench.

Now he is being offered a route out by Bilbao. Illarramendi qualifies for the club who have a Basque only policy after coming through Sociedad’s youth system.

Pepe punched Real Madrid teammate Illarramendi in the face during 3-0 win [Video]

Real Madrid beat Celta Vigo this weekend 3-0 thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo hat-trick.

Notoriously aggressive centre back Pepe was manning the backline along with Sergio Ramos.

Renowned for dirty tricks and fouls on opponents, this weekend Pepe punched his own teammate, Asier Illarramendi, in the face.

The young Real Madrid central midfielder was doing his defensive work before he ended up with a heap alongside Pepe.

The replays showed Illarramendi taking a punch to the face from his teammate.

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Arsenal & Liverpool interested in January loan deal for Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi [Express]

Arsenal and Liverpool are interested in taking Asier Illarramendi on loan in January, according to The Express.

The Basque midfielder has failed to make any real impact since his 25 million pound transfer from Real Sociedad in summer 2013, and remains a bit-part player at La Casa Blanca, having played only a handful of games so far this season.

The Express claim Madrid would be open to a loan move in January, and that Arsenal consider him a decent alternative to Sami Khedira in their perpetual quest for a defensive midfielder, while Liverpool could do with reinforcements in that area, with Lucas Leiva possibly on the way out.

Despite his difficult situation at Madrid, Illara is a brilliant passer of the ball, but there’s also a worry that he’s gone backwards since leaving Sociedad.

 

Illarramendi dresses up as a bull during Real Madrid’s Decima celebrations at Cibeles [Video]

Asier Illarramendi had a tough debut season at Real Madrid.

Having arrived from Real Sociedad with a hefty price tag (nearly 40 million euros all included), the Basque struggled to step up to the plate, and was overlooked by Ancelotti for a role in last night’s Champions League final.

Illara didn’t sulk or strop about it though, and supported the team throughout the game like an avid fan.

And at the Cibeles celebrations, Illara had a bit of banter by dressing up as a bull, a reference to his antics earlier this season, when he was caught running with the bulls at a Madrid street festival.

Isco was spotted taking the mickey out of Asier Illarramendi for chasing a bull dressed as Batman

It was one of the most bizarre stories involving a footballer of the year and perhaps ever.

To recap, Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi was forced to apologise last week when it emerged he had chased a bull dressed as Batman during carnival season in his native Basque Country.

Footage and background to this crazy story can be seen and read here.

Now footage has emerged of the Real Madrid players warming up for their 3-0 win over Levante on Sunday.

And, Isco was spotted joking with his team mate about the bull incident…

Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi says sorry after he was chased by bull while dressed as Batman [Video]

A bizarre story broke in Spain on Saturday involving Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi, a Batman costume and a bull.

It is currently carnival season in Spain, and Illarramendi got involved in the festivities in recent days in Azpeitia in his native Basque Country.

Local media have now released a low quality video in which the Real Madrid man was filmed wearing a Batman costume whilst goading a bull in the middle of the street.

Having been outed, Illarramendi issued a public apology for his thoughtless behaviour, however Real Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti has made it clear that the player will be internally punished for his poor decision making. Ancelotti told reporters:

There is a disciplinary code like at any club so players avoid doing anything dangerous. It’s the first time I’ve seen a player run with bulls. He has apologised and I don’t think he’ll do it again.

Asier Illaramendi was also pictured with two drag queens at a festival.

Watch the grainy footage of Real Madrid’s Asier Illarramendi being chased by a bull below.

Asier Illarramendi scores 1st professional goal & stars in Real Madrid win over Xativa [Individual Highlights]

“I didn’t know how I was going to strike it, but it ended up in the back of the net. It’s about time I scored one.” – Asier Illarramendi.

Imagine if Asier Illarramendi could add goals to his game!

The former Real Sociedad midfielder claimed his first professional goal in a competitive match for Real Madrid on Wednesday evening as Los Blancos saw off Olimpic De Xativa 2-0.

Illarramendi put in an excellent shift for Real Madrid in his 58 minutes on the pitch as he kept the ball ticking over and almost never loses possession.

He was replaced by Xabi Alonso, who received a great welcome from the Bernabeu crowd, eager to see the former Liverpool midfielder sign a new contract at Real Madrid.

Alonso is just a few days away from being able to talk to other clubs with his contract coming to an end at Real Madrid come the close of 2013/2014.

If Real Madrid were to lose Alonso they do have a ready-made replacement at the club.

 

Brilliant! Xabi Alonso shaves and turns into Real Madrid teammate Asier Illaramendi [Graphic]

Now aged 31, Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso is still pulling the strings despite entering the final years of his career.

The midfield maestro is known for his beard but in this graphic we see exactly what he would look like without it.

Asier Illaramendi or Illara was signed in the summer from Real Sociedad for £30m.

He was bought essentially as Xabi Alonso’s replacement. Once he grows a beard and improves his game a little he will in fact be Xabi Alonso.

The similarities are uncanny.

Italian TV prove Arturo Vidal was clipped in the box, perhaps it wasn’t a dirty dive?!

Perhaps we were too quick to judge Juventus midfielder Arturo Vidal?

On Wednesday evening, in the aftermath of The Old Lady’s 2-1 defeat at Real Madrid, the viral clip of the night on Twitter, Facebook and Reddit was undoubtedly Arturo Vidal’s “dive” at the Bernabeu.

For our immediate verdict, see: Where’s the Sniper?! Juve’s Arturo Vidal manufactured the worst dive ever v Real Madrid, not even booked!

However, Italian TV looked at the incident closely, and it turns out that Vidal was clipped in the box as he burst through by Asier Illarramendi.

Quite why Vidal continued and then kicked the turf before diving to the ground is not immediately clear, had the Chilean gone down when he was touched by the Real Madrid midfielder, referee Manuel Grafe may well have decided on a spot kick.

This was a crucial decision in the context of the game. Vidal’s clip/dive came in the second half with Juve 2-1 down and chasing the game.

The incident also came with both Vidal and Illarramendi on bookings from first-half transgressions.

On reflection, perhaps no decision from referee Grafe was correct. When you look at the super slow mo zoomed in camera below – even technology makes this a very hard call.

Illarramendi’s £32.8m signing takes Real’s spending to over £400m since 2009

On Friday Real Madrid announced the signing of 23 year old Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad for a fee of £32.8 Million.

Illarramendi was very impressive for Spain at the U21 Euros but many in the world of football have suggested that such a fee for an up and coming player is slightly ridiculous.

101GG saw this as an opportunity to have an in-depth look at Real Madrid’s spending since 2009.

The figures are huge, with no club coming close to how much Real Madrid have spent on signings.

Over £400 Million has been pumped into transfer since 2009 with very little income from sales. Wesley Sneijder and Klaas Jan Huntelaar were their biggest sales, each bringing in around £12.5M.

In this 4 year period they have won only one La Liga title and reached zero Champions League finals.

In April Real Madrid came top of Forbes rich list. However they also have the most debt of any team, racking up £600M worth of debt.

£5 Million+ Transfers since 2009 (Total = £423.1M):

Klaas Jan Huntelaar – £17M

Lassana Diarra – £20M

Raul Albiol – £12M

Xabi Alonso – £30M

Angel Di Maria – £20M

Karim Benzema – £25M

Kaka – £56M

Cristiano Ronaldo – £80M

Ricardo Carvalho – £6.7M

Mesu Ozil – £16.6M

Sami Khedira – £12.5M

Fabio Coentrao – £25M

Jose Callejon – £5.5M

Nuri Sahin – £8M

Luka Modric – £33M

Isco – £23M

Asier Illarramendi – £32.8M