Transfer talk: With Kovacic to Real Madrid, Asier Illarramendi to Liverpool – report

With Mateo Kovacic headed from Inter Milan to Real Madrid, 'excess' Asier Illarramendi is apparently on the move, with Liverpool a likely destination.
Asier Illarramendi shown during a Copa del Rey match with Real Madrid during the 2013/14 season. Paul White / AP / December 2013
Asier Illarramendi shown during a Copa del Rey match with Real Madrid during the 2013/14 season. Paul White / AP / December 2013

Real Madrid

According to a Spanish report. Real Madrid will soon initiate a domino effect that lands Asier Illarramendi at Liverpool.

First, the Mundo Deportivo paper says, Mateo Kovacic will sign for Madrid from Inter Milan at a €35 million fee (Dh142.3m), a move confirmed by Inter manager Roberto Mancici at the weekend when he said: “We are all disappointed about Kovacic’s departure. What can we do?”

The 21-year-old Croatia international emerged last season as one of Inter’s most exciting players, scoring five goals with three assists in 35 Serie A appearances. Deportivo Mundo calls him the “surprise of the summer” at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Kovacic is described as being reinforcement for compatriot Luka Modric in the centre midfield.

Read more: The National’s Transfer Talk page

This move in turn, goes the Spanish report, will lead to Illarramendi’s arrival at Anfield.

Real bought the 25-year-old defensive midfielder for €38.9m from Real Sociedad before the 2013/14 season, but he has yet to gain a consistent starting role. The Basque made 30 La Liga appearances for Madrid last season and 29 the previous season, but only 25 of those combined have been in the starting XI.

Described as “excess” at Real, Illarramendi is said to have an offer from Liverpool, where he would presumably replace a departing Lucas Leiva.

Chelsea

Bundesliga side Augsburg confirmed on Sunday they have sold Ghana international Baba Rahman to Premier League champions Chelsea for a reported fee of €19.8 million.

With bonuses, the deal could exceed €30m, more than Augsburg’s budget for the season.

The 21-year-old defender cost €2.5m when he joined Augsburg last year from German second-division club Greuther Furth, who are now set to get a 25 per cent share from his sale to Chelsea.

“Abdul Baba Rahman has developed enormously in his one year with us and made a giant leap,” said Augsburg’s chief executive Stefan Reuter.

“It’s not just a reward for his performances, but also for our work, if an international giant like Chelsea shows interest.”

Baba passed a medical on Saturday and is off to battle for Chelsea’s left-back berth following the departure of Brazil defender Filipe Luis back to Atletico Madrid after only one season at Stamford Bridge.

“I have to take this opportunity to play at a top club in England, even if I had planned on a long-term stay at Augsburg only a year ago,” Baba said.

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho welcomed the news because, as a left-back, Baba can give Cesar Azpilicueta competition for the first team.

“At the same time, Azpilicueta can compete with Branislav Ivanovic for the right-back position, so he replaces Filipe Luis in the balance of the squad.”

Rahman has made 13 appearances for Ghana and played in the African Cup of Nations defeat to the Ivory Coast on penalties in the final in January.

*Agence France-Presse

Reims

Georgia international midfielder Jaba Kankava has signed for French club Reims for three seasons with an option for a fourth from Ukrainian first division side Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, the Ligue 1 club confirmed on Sunday.

Georgia captain Kankava, who has scored six goals in 52 games for the national side, was a mainstay for the Ukrainian club, who lost the Europa League final last May to Sevilla.

Kankava, 29, will help fill the gap at the club following the departure of Poland international Grzegorz Krychowiak to Sevilla.

Kankava was presented to the press just before kick-off of Sunday’s Ligue 1 clash at home against Marseille.

Reims won their opening match of the season 2-1 at Bordeaux last weekend.

*Agence France-Presse

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Published: August 17, 2015 04:00 AM

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