Liverpool are moving closer to replacing Steven Gerrard, with reports claiming that Real Madrid are ready to accept a £16m bid from Anfield for Asier Illarramendi.
The 25-year-old is believed to be Brendan Rodgers’s top target to fill the deep-lying playmaker role that Gerrard, who is leaving the club for Los Angeles Galaxy, fulfilled towards the end of his 17-year Reds career.
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Illarramendi moved to Los Blancos from Real Sociedad for £34m in 2013, but has struggled to establish himself in the starting lineup and both parties are thought to be attracted by Liverpool’s improved offer. An initial figure of £11m was rejected.
Spanish publication Marca claims that Illarramendi’s potential move to Merseyside is now in the hands of former Liverpool manager Rafael Benitez, who took over at Real last month and is yet to decide on the midfielder’s future.
Illarramendi has made 82 appearances in two seasons at the Bernabeu, but 47 of those came as a substitute.
Rodgers has already acquired James Milner on a free transfer this off-season to bolster his midfield options.