Liverpool close in on La Liga star as replacement for unwanted Brazilian

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Liverpool target Asier Illarramendi has been told he can leave Real Madrid and the Daily Mirror, citing Spanish sources, claim that the midfielder could be brought in to replace Lucas Leiva at Anfield.

The 25-year-old’s career at the Bernabeu has failed to take off since his move to the Spanish capital from Real Sociedad two years ago, and his first-team opportunities were greatly restricted following the arrival of Toni Kroos last summer.

Former Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti opted to use Kroos and Luka Modric in central midfield roles and this led to Illarramendi making just ten La Liga starts in 2014/15.

The lack of first-team action has hampered Asier Illarramendi’s national team standing and the former Under 21 international is still yet to secure a first senior Spanish national team cap.

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The Daily Mirror claim Lucas Leiva is set to leave Liverpool with some sources suggesting the Merseyside club want £8m for the Brazilian (via The Daily Mail).

The 28-year-old enforcer has struggled with fitness in recent seasons and the arrival of James Milner and the good-form shown by German Emre Can in a defensive midfield role has led to Lucas Leiva falling down the Liverpool pecking order.

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