Real Madrid sign Spanish U-21 player Illaramendi

Madrid, July 12 (IANS) Real Madrid Friday announced the signing of Spain Under-21 midfielder Asier Illaramendi.

Real Madrid have paid the buy-out clause of 30 million euros for the player, depositing a cheque for that amount in the offices of the Spanish Football League (LFP) and after adding on taxes, the final deal is worth around 39 million euros, reports Xinhua.

Illaramendi has agreed a contract for six seasons and will be officially presented to the fans on Saturday.

The Real Sociedad player becomes Real Madrid's third signing of the season after the club also signed his fellow U-21 companions, Isco from Malaga and Javier Carjaval from Bayer Leverkusen.

"I was on a holiday when the news of Madrid's interest came, I spoke to those around me and we came to the conclusion that it is a unique opportunity that is impossible to turn town," said Illaramendi in a press conference held in San Sebastian.

"It was a hard decision to take, but it is a good decision, although it was not simple as Real Sociedad have given me everything, I came here as a boy and I have matured here," he said.

However, the deal also highlights the imbalance that currently exists between Real Madrid and FC Barcelona and the rest of Spain's football clubs. Real Sociedad finished fourth last season, but have still been unable to maintain arguably their best player, while third placed Atletico Madrid have also lost star striker, Radamel Falcao in a big money deal to Monaco.

Atletico have at least been able to sign David Villa from Barca for a bargain 5 million euros, but with most other club's in Spain relying on free transfers and loan deals, it is obvious that the gap between the big-two and the rest of the Primera Liga is growing wider all the time.

Real Madrid have now spent over 75 million euros this summer, which is only slightly less than the other 19 clubs in Spain combined, including Barcelona's 50 million euro signing of Brazilian ace Neymar.

Among other deals taking place in Spain, Valencia have signed Chelsea's former Barcelona-B midfielder, Oriol Romeu on a season's loan from Chelsea, while Atletico Madrid have snapped up veteran former Malaga defender Martin Demichelis on a free transfer.

Thursday saw Real Sociedad close a 3 million euro deal for Swiss striker Haris Seferovic from Italian side Fiorentina.

Newly promoted Almeria have taken Barcelona B-team striker Rodri on loan. Rodri spent last season on loan in England with Sheffield and then with Zaragoza, whose season ended in relegation.

Striker Roque Santa Cruz has returned to Malaga after a agreeing a three season deal with the club.

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