Arsenal plan to sign Asier Illarramendi in January

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Arsenal will go head-to-head with Liverpool for the loan signing of Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi when the transfer window re-opens in January.

This is according to the Express, who cite reports from Spain as claiming that both Premier League clubs are interested in signing the former Spain Under-21 international, along with Serie A giants AC Milan, on a short-term deal.

Illarramendi, 24, completed a €32.2 million move to Real Madrid from Real Sociedad in 2013 but has failed to establish himself as a first-team regular. The midfielder has started just one of Real Madrid’s nine La Liga matches this season and could be loaned out to regain some form and confidence.

Illarramendi has struggled at Real Madrid

Illarramendi proved during his three years as a professional in the Real Sociedad senior team that he is a wonderfully talented midfielder, equipped with all the required attributes to make an impact at one of Europe’s top clubs. There’s a reason why Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti agreed to pay so much money for his services on arrival at the Bernabeu last year.

But the step up has proved tougher than many people, including Ancelotti, predicted. Illarramendi finds himself behind Real Madrid’s main central midfield duo - comprised of Luka Modric and Toni Kroos - as well as Sami Khedira.

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Khedira has also been linked with a move to Arsenal - along with the likes of Chelsea, Manchester United and Manchester City - and has reportedly reduced his wage demands to £80,000-a-week in order to force a move away from the Spanish capital in the New Year.

Wenger looking at cheaper alternatives

However, Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger is looking at other targets, who might be just as effective and will work out cheaper.

As well as the £25 million-rated Illarramendi, whose contract with Real Madrid expires in 2019, the Gunners have also been linked with Spartak Moscow’s Brazilian midfielder Romulo this week.

It’s believed Arsenal have tabled a £9.5 million bid, and offered the Russian Premier League side the services of French striker Yaya Sanogo for the season, in order to sign the 24-year-old South American.

But if Spartak deem the offer not good enough, Arsenal may put all the efforts into signing Illarramendi instead.

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