As we spoke of recently Carlo Ancelotti is eyeing up midfield options ahead of next season as a major priority; and it seems they are on the cusp of signing the player said to be his number one target.
Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi has just come off the back of an excellent Under-21 European Championship with Spain; which itself came after playing a key role in his club Real Sociedad’s excellent season.
But despite finishing fourth with the Basque club and therefore potentially taking them into the Champions League it seems that a deal for the young holding midfielder to move to Real Madrid is now imminent.
A deal would cost Real €30 million but they feel that is a price worth paying for a player dubbed ‘the next Xabi Alonso’.
Alonso shares those sentiments and it is not just a comparison based on playing position and his Sociedad affiliation.
The two are similar in playing style and that has clearly got Real thinking that he is the best man for the job of replacing the former Liverpool player.
It was his similar abilities such as his vision, passing finesse and rumbustious energy that caught the eye of many suitors this summer; including Arsenal.
They were said to be interested in the player but Real Madrid have moved fast to bring in a man they obviously see as the perfect replacement for Alonso; because the 31-year-old looks likely to leave Real Madrid next summer.
His current contract at the Bernabeu expires next summer and so far no agreement looks likely.
But amid obvious interest from Chelsea, led by former Real coach Jose Mourinho, is there a just as obvious a solution to this issue from an Arsenal perspective?
Alonso may not be in the age bracket of the type of player Arsene Wenger usually goes for but then again we are constantly being told he wants to buy Gareth Barry this summer. But why buy a Fiat when you can buy a Ferrari?
With his contract expiring Arsenal could start the bidding below £10 million and still get a good four years out of Alonso considering his natural fitness. That type of money is unlikely to leave as much as a dent in the ‘warchest’ available to Wenger this summer and the acquisition would be a shrewd and potentially game-changing deal.
So they may have missed out Illarramendi; but they should probably go in for the man he is tasked with replacing.
Would you like to see Alonso at The Emirates?
image: © Jan S0l0