Reports: Real Madrid to activate release clause of rival La Liga star
What's the story?
La Liga title defenders Real Madrid are set to trigger Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga's release clause in the January transfer window according to Spanish media outlet Diario AS. The Spanish goalkeeper has a release clause of €20 million and the Los Blancos are willing to pay the fee to sign the custodian.
The 12-time European Champions want to get the deal done for Kepa at the earliest and announce his arrival in the first week of January if the report is to be believed.
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The Zinedine Zidane-managed Real Madrid have been in the market for a goalkeeper for some time now, with Premier League club Manchester United's David de Gea being the top target. However, they were not able to get a deal done for the 27-year-old in time.
Having failed to convince Manchester United to sell de Gea, Real Madrid decided to look elsewhere and identified league rivals Athletic Bilbao's Kepa as the right player for the team.
Kepa has his current contract with the Athletic club running out in the summer and negotiations between the two parties for a new contract have reportedly fallen apart. The 23-year-old Spanish goalkeeper is aware of Real Madrid's interest and is keen on moving to the Santiago Bernabeu.
The heart of the matter
Even though contract talks have broken down between Athletic Bilbao and Kepa, the Los Leones are not willing to sell their number one for anything less than the release clause of €20 million. According to Diario AS, Real Madrid are willing to pay the fee in order to land their goalkeeper target.
The Spanish goalkeeper could have played his last game for Athletic Bilbao after the player injured his foot last week. The Basque club has confirmed that Kepa is out for three weeks. By the time he gains his full fitness the youngster could be a Real Madrid player.
While Kepa might not be as big a name as de Gea, the youngster could definitely compete against current Real Madrid number one Keylor Navas and take his spot soon. The 23-year-old is a good shot stopper and can deliver accurate long passes.
It'll be intriguing to see how the player develops at Real Madrid, if he signs for them this January.