Operation Asier Illarramendi is not going to be plain sailing by any stretch of the imagination. Real Madrid has a struggle on its hands if it is going to lure the midfielder away from San Sebastian this summer, not least with a €30 million release clause to contend with.
What's more, rumours abound as to an alleged unwritten pact in the Real Sociedad dressing room. The players have apparently vowed not to leave this summer so as to fulfil the dream of getting through the Champions League qualifiers and into the group phase. To rub salt into the wounds, Illarramendi is a firm fan favourite.
The Basque youngster has all the ingredients to take up the baton from countryman Xabi Alonso – big shoes to fill indeed – but the Real Sociedad board is unwilling to budge from the €30 million release clause to which the midfielder and his teammates are tied. The San Sebastián outfit has no pressing need to sell and president Jokin Aperribay has made it abundantly clear that anyone interested in making off with one of the club's crown jewels is going to have to fork out the full fee.
If that weren't enough, Illara is under contract until 2018 – longer than many of his illustrious teammates, including heavyweights like Prieto and Bravo and Spain under-21 teammate Iñigo Martínez, all of whom signed new deals until 2017. A new, improved contract could also be in the pipeline, accompanied by a move to up his buyout clause to the biggest in the club's history.
I'd say I'm a bit Antimadridista, although one does not know where their future will be, but it's a team that I never liked. t seems to me that it is an arrogant club with how the players behave. Without humility you cannot get anywhere.