Liverpool loom over Real Madrid outcast to reinforce midfield

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The increasingly peripheral role that Asier Illarramendi is playing at Real Madrid has alerted Liverpool to the prospect of snapping the Spaniard up this summer.

Reports from The Mirror suggest the Reds will “intensify” their pursuit of the former Real Sociedad midfielder in the coming months and hope a promise of more regular playing time will be enough to outweigh their potential lack of Champions League football.

Ladbrokes make the Reds an 11/2 chance to snare a top-four spot come season’s end, which makes them the fifth favourite to achieve the feat, behind Chelsea, Arsenal, Man Utd and Man City.

However, with Steven Gerrard heading across the Atlantic and Emre Can seemingly converted to a centre-back, the possibility of a more prominent role in Liverpool’s midfield should appeal to the 25-year-old, regardless of which UEFA competition the club end up in.

Illarramendi has started just four of Real Madrid’s last 22 matches. Although the fact he has been used from the bench a whopping 20 times this term softens that blow, the Mutriku native will surely see a Liverpool move as a step back to step forward, as far as his career is concerned.

What happens with Carlo Ancelotti at the end of the season, with rumours of his Los Blancos departure gathering pace, could tempt Illarramendi to stick the situation out.

However, Spanish newspaper Marca’s report that he prefers a Premier League move certainly boosts Liverpool’s chances of landing their man.

In reality, breaking beyond the duopoly that Luka Modric and Toni Kroos hold over central midfield looks a tough task no matter who the manager is. A move to pastures new looks the best option for the Spanish U21 star.

All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.

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Matt Wiggins

No idyllic sound comes close to leather on willow for Matt, whose previous experience includes stints with Spin Magazine and Surrey County Cricket Club. It's not just cricket that interests him though, with football, golf, tennis and any American sport not played on ice all high on his list of favourites.