Reports: Real Madrid to beat Barcelona to €43 million superstar
What's the story?
Real Madrid and Barcelona have been going at it in the transfer window, and otherwise, since time immemorial and it's mostly been an even contest.
Much to the Catalan giant's chagrin, though, in the recent past Real Madrid have trumped them to the more talented Spanish youngsters - once their domain - with Marco Asensio, Marcos Llorente, Theo Hernandez, amongst the many who Madrid have poached ahead of an equally interested Barcelona.
The latest in that list, if the good folk over at AS are to be believed is Kepa Arrizabalaga, Athletic Bilbao's sensational young goalkeeper with reports claiming that Real Madrid are readying a €43 million bid, which should be enough to bag them the keeper ahead of Arrizabalaga's former coach Ernesto Valverde and his current team Barcelona.
In case you didn't know
Kepa Arrizabalaga has, as of now, refused to sign a contract extension that would raise his buyout clause to €75 million next season - making his the highest in the club (Aymeric Laporte is the highest currently at €65, which will go up to €70 next season). The reason behind the keeper's discontent is apparently that the new contract does not have the wages to match the new, higher, buyout clause.
The easiest way to conduct the business for Atheltic would be to drop the release clause to €50 million so that they can maintain the wages offer, but that's apparently a strategy they are not willing to consider
The heart of the matter
Real Madrid, however, have no qualms about offering a salary much higher than what the Basque earns at his current club - and that might just be enough for them to convince him to push through a transfer offer below what Athletic Club are looking for. Madrid, and other interested clubs such as Barcelona and Juventus, were given a boost when the Basque club's President announced: "Those who want to stay here, stay here. The player has to make an effort, not just the club. Kepa is very good, but we've achieved what we have in recent seasons without him..."
Here's what's got all the big clubs in Europe interested in Arrizabalaga
Lad can keep, eh?
Real Madrid have been mulling over the issue of a long-term replacement for (the thoroughly underrated Keylor Navas) and Arrizabalaga could be just the answer they are looking for - considering the unwillingness of both Manchester United and AC Milan to let go of Madrid's two favourite targets David De Gea and Gianluigi Donnarumma.