Midfielder Illaramendi pleased at Real Sociedad return

Sociedad (Spain), Aug 26 (IANS) Real Madrid and Real Sociedad have completed a deal which sees midfielder Aiser Illaramendi return to the club where he began his football career after two unsuccessful seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium in the Spanish Capital.

“I’m very happy, Real Sociedad was always my first option,” Xinhua quoted Illaramendi as saying on Wednesday as he flew in for his medical at the San Sebastian stadium here.

The return of the 25-year-old represents a magnificent piece of business for Sociedad, who sold the 25-year-old to Madrid for 39 million euros (around $43 million) in 2013 and who have now been able to buy him back for a ‘bargain’ price of around 17 million euros ($19.3 million).

In contrast the deal has been a total disaster for Real Madrid and especially club president, Florentino Perez, the man who is ultimately behind all of the signings his club makes.

Bought as a replacement for Xabi Alonso, Illaramendi’s first season at Madrid was solid if unspectacular. But he failed to show himself to be more than a tidy midfielder, well adapted to a role in front of the defence and he failed to make an impact in matches against Madrid’s major rivals.

Indeed despite Alonso’s suspension he was left out of the Champions League final with the barely fit Sami Khedira picked ahead of him.

Despite scoring his first goal for Real away against his former club, last season saw Illaramendi’s role reduced and the writing appeared to be on the wall when the club signed Lucas Silva in January.

Silva has hardly played since his arrival, but Illaramendi’s minutes continued to be limited and the signings of Casimiro and Mateo Kovacic this summer opened the door for him.

The Basque had offers from the English Premier League with Liverpool thought to be interested and Athletic Club Bilbao also made an offer for him in the New Year. But in the end Illaramendi has returned ‘home’ — a home which with hindsight he should probably never have left.

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