Reports: Real Madrid midfielder desperate to leave club in January despite €300m release clause
Chelsea and Arsenal are both interested
What's the story?
Marcos Llorente has grown tired of Real Madrid not offering him enough playing time on the pitch, and wants to leave the club in January, according to a report in Spanish news outlet SPORT. The 22-year-old experienced a stellar 2016/17 season while on loan at Deportivo Alaves, and was one of their integral cogs as they made their way to the Copa del Rey final. Llorente has not been offered similar game-time under Zinedine Zidane, and is now desperate to leave. Malaga are reportedly weighing up a permanent offer, while Deportivo Alaves and Valencia are keep on signing Llorente for a loan until the end of the season.
Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham Hotspur were also linked previously with the midfielder, albeit only on a permanent move.
In case you didn't know...
A part of Real Madrid's youth system ever since the age of 13, Marcos Llorente's rise through the ranks was swift, with Zinedine Zidane promoting him to the reserves in 2014. He made his debut for Real Madrid's senior side just a year later in 2015, making three appearances in total that season. A loan move to Deportivo Alaves in 2016/17 sparked off Llorente's rise to prominence, with Madrid recalling him to the senior side this summer.
The heart of the matter
Llorente played 38 games for Deportivo Alaves in 2016/17 season, racking up 3299 minutes on the pitch. He was lauded throughout Spain for his composed performances in defensive midfield - and when Real Madrid recalled him back this season, they convinced him to sign a new deal that would keep him at the club until 2021, while also having an astonishing €300 million release clause.
That has proved a stumbling block for a permanent deal for the likes of Chelsea, Arsenal and Tottenham, who have reportedly had substantial bids rejected. The Spanish midfielder has grown unhappy at his lack of action, despite Casemiro missing plenty of games through injury or suspension. Llorente has only started 4 times under Zinedine Zidane, with two of those coming in the Copa del Rey against Fuenlabrada. He's only completed 90 minutes once in La Liga.
Thus, Llorente is desperate to move - and with the mill of a €300 million release clause hanging round his neck, the defensive midfielder might be resigned to a loan spell back to Alaves - as Madrid might baulk at strengthening Valencia, who are above them in the table.
Llorente has already proven he is La Liga quality, the fact that Zidane does not seem to trust him ought to make him consider his future with the club. Staying till the end of the season will only hamper his development, and perhaps he is better off moving back to Alaves.