Real Madrid midfielder Aiser Illarramendi has turned down the chance to join Liverpool after receiving assurances from new boss Rafa Benitez over his position next season.
The former Real Sociedad ace has struggled for first team action since making the switch to the Bernabeu, and has started just 25 league games in two seasons.
Liverpool are said to be keen on making him their eighth signing of the summer as they look to claw their way back into the top four and the Champions League, however it seems as though they may have to look elsewhere.
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According to Spanish newspaper Marca, Liverpool put forward an offer to Illarramendi in the hope that the lure of first team football may be enough to persuade him to head to Anfield.
However the paper claims that the 25-year-old has held talks with Benitez who told him he will have his chance in the first team next season, which was enough to convince him to stay put. As it stands he will be used as back up for Luka Modric and Toni Kroos, however Madrid's participation in three separate competitions next season should ensure there's enough first team action to go around.
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Marca add that Benitez views Illarramendi as a key player who can fill the role of Xabi Alonso - a player he worked with successfully with during his time at Liverpool.
Lucas Silva has also arrived at Real Madrid to add to the competition, and Benitez is confident of juggling the demands of all of his stars to keep them happy.
Liverpool boss Brendan Rodgers has been active in the transfer window as he looks to make amends for an underwhelming campaign last time round. So far he's splashed the cash on a host of new players, including Roberto Firmino from Hoffenheim and Christian Benteke from Aston Villa.
Raheem Sterling has left Anfield for Manchester City in a deal worth £49 million, while another player in Mario Balotelli could be following him out of the door. Bologna chief Pantaleo Corvino has confirmed he would 'like to take him' this summer.
If Liverpool were able to get Illarramendi it would have been a big boost for Brendan Rodgers. The Spaniard is an incredibly technical player who would slot right into Liverpool's style, and would be a major upgrade on the likes of Joe Allen and Lucas Leiva.
If Rodgers plans to go for a 4-3-3 he would have been a good fit too alongside Henderson and Emre Can, say, however it's not to be and Rodgers needs to move on quickly.
He's not short of options in the middle of the park but he would like a little bit more quality in order to push on and break into the top four once more - a task that looks even more difficult this season.
Who should Liverpool target to bolster their midfield?
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