Chelsea and Liverpool given new hope of signing Alonso as Real seek replacement

Chelsea’s hopes of landing former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso have been given a huge boost with reports that Real Madrid are set to sign a replacement, according to The Daily Star.

Alonso is entering the final year of his contract at the Bernabeu, and while discussions have been held with Los Blancos about a new deal no agreement has yet been reached.

Sources in Spain have revealed that the club could be preparing for Alonso’s departure by making a move for Real Sociedad midfielder Asier Illarramendi, who is a Spain U-23 international.

Illarramendi’s Real Sociedad team-mate, Xabi Prieto, admitted that the club would find it difficult to hang on to the 23-year-old with a club of Real’s stature interested in his services, but was keen to reiterate that no deal had yet been done.

Prieto said: “At the moment, we don’t know anything, but the club has already made it clear that if they want to buy Illarramendi, they’ll have to pay his release clause. And it seems that Real Madrid are willing to pay it.

“For the moment, he is a Real Sociedad player; we’re talking about a hypothetical situation. We’ll respect his decision.”

Alonso’s arrival at Chelsea would reunite the midfielder with former boss Jose Mourinho, who recently returned for a second spell in charge of the Blues.

Mourinho is thought to be a keen admirer of the midfielder, though if Alonso is eventually given the green light to leave the club the Blues could face competition from his former club Liverpool.

Alonso was a popular figure during his five-year stay at Anfield, and it is believed the club would welcome him back with open arms if he opted to return to the north west.

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