It was the end of an era at Liverpool this season. Their captain, legend and perhaps the greatest ever player, Steven Gerrard , departed after a 26 year association with the club thus bringing the curtain down on a first-team career spanning 17 years where he was the heartbeat of the club.
Brendan Rodgers has rightly accepted the fact that no one can replace the Liverpool great man-for-man and is therefore looking to recruit a mix of talented names who can go some way towards achieving that indomitable feat.
Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi has been frequently linked as an option for Rodgers, and it now seems that the Northern Irishman will have a clear path for his signature, after reports emerged in several Spanish outlets that the Los Blancos are interested in signing the 23-year-old highly rated Portuguese defensive midfielder William Carvalho.
Any deal for the Portuguese will spell the end for the first team hopes of IIllarramendi, who has failed to make a significant impact at the Santiago Bernabeu since signing in a €35 million deal from Real Sociedad in 2013. He has been mostly on the bench in this duration, and has failed to make the most of whatever opportunities he has had.
With new Real Manager Rafael Benitez planning to make significant changes to the Los Blancos’ midfield, the arrival of Carvalho pushes Illarramendi further down the pecking order , and the 25-year-old will surely not be thrilled at that prospect.
Having joined Real Madrid as the next big hope of Spanish football , it has been a couple of seasons to forget for the 25-year-old , whose career seems to have stalled since moving to the Bernabeu. He made 30 appearances for Los Blancos last term in the league, albeit a majority of them being from the bench.
It seems the timing is perfect for the Liverpool manager to swoop in and get his man. For the player’s part, moving to Anfield will provide him with a fresh start and an opportunity to ply his trade in front of the adoring Kop. This seems an opportunity too good to pass for both the player as well as the club. Illarramendi is an upgrade on the current defensive midfielder Lucas Leiva that Liverpool have, and at 25, has his best years ahead of him.
Liverpool fans will be hoping that Rodgers can finally get the man who he has long identified as the long term successor to Steven Gerrard. And it will be a double edge sword. Should Liverpool sign Illaramendi, Chelsea are very likely to lose out on Modric as Madrid are very unlikely to sell both Modric and Illaramendi in the same window.