Real Madrid has signed promising midfielder Asier Illarremendi from Real Sociedad for a reported £33.6 million. Sociedad fought hard to keep Illarramendi, but they ultimately lost out on the player they coveted as Real Madrid hopes he can be their long-term replacement for Xabi Alonso.
Illarramendi has been playing for Spain Under-21 international squad.
Sociedad president, Jokin Aperribay, admitted that the team did not want to sell Illarremendi, but the move, but Real Madrid’s offer triggered Illarramendi’s buyout clause.
“This morning the LFP called to tell us that Real Madrid have activated Illarramendi’s buyout clause,” he said, via The Guardian. “We have a very important year ahead of us with a young coach [Jagoba Arrasate] and we wanted all our players to stay.
“We told Real Madrid that we wouldn’t negotiate, and we said the same thing to Asier and his agents. We fought very hard for him to stay and it’s been a difficult few days because we really wanted him to stay. We wish him all the best and hope he doesn’t forget his time at La Real.”
Illarremendi issued a statement of his own on the move to Real Madrid, which he called an offer that he couldn’t pass up. In the statement, however, Illarremendi couldn’t express his thanks and happiness for his time at Sociedad enough.
“It hasn’t been an easy decision, it has been very difficult for me to decide because Real Sociedad have given me so much,” Illarramendi said. “I was on holiday when we started to hear about the interest from Real Madrid. There were contacts, we mulled it over and came to the conclusion that it was an offer we couldn’t refuse. It’s a unique opportunity.
“I thank the board, the academy coaches, the backroom staff and my team-mates. I wish them all the best. This club will achieve great things.”