Illarramendi is on the verge of linking up with Los Blancos.
Arsenal target Asier Illarramendi looks set to snub the Premier League in favour of a move to Real Madrid despite the Real Sociedad coach insisting the midfielder is going nowhere, according to Marca.
The 23-year-old has been strongly linked with a move away from Sociedad this summer and it appeared to be a two-horse race between the Gunners and Madrid for the Spaniard’s signature.
Yet just as Manchester City found out with the pursuit of Isco, the Santiago Bernabeu is extremely hard to resist for ambitious, young Spanish footballers and Illarramendi is expected to complete the move by Thursday.
The transfer of the central midfielder would serve as a blow to Arsenal but could actually help the club’s London rivals Chelsea, with Xabi Alonso possibly being sold to make way for the new arrival.
The Blues are tracking Alonso – with the Spain international being one of a number of veteran players at Madrid to possibly be shown the door this summer.
Another Los Blancos midfielder that could be on his way out is Kaka, as the Brazilian has not particularly enjoyed a four-year spell at the Bernabeu since a colossal £57m switch from AC Milan in 2009.
Illarramendi meanwhile has been impressing in La Liga with some assured performances for Sociedad, which helped the club achieve a shock fourth position spot and qualification for the Champions League.
The midfielder has 16 caps for the Spain under-21 side and was instrumental in their recent European Championship triumph in Israel, as well as having played 56 club matches since breaking into the first team in 2010.