Liverpool have received a boost in their pursuit of Real Madrid's Asier Illarramendi, after the midfielder was reportedly told that he is surplus to requirements at the Spanish giants.
The 25-year-old has been strongly linked with a £15m move to the Reds this summer, and after being told by Rafa Benitez that he is not in his plans at the Bernabeu.
Reports in Spain suggest that Brendan Rodgers is preparing to launch a £15m bid for the player, who signed for Real for €32m (£22m) in 2013, the most Real had ever spent on a Spanish player.
Illarramendi, who is yet to be capped at senior level by Spain, failed to establish himself at the Bernabeu.
Liverpool have brought in seven new signings this summer - Christian Benten (£32m from Aston Villa), Adam Bogdan (free from Bolton), Nathaniel Clyne (£12.5m from Southampton), Roberto Firmino (£29m from Hoffenheim), Joe Gomez (£3.5m from Charlton) , Danny Ings (free from Burnley) and James Milner (free from Manchester City).
The Reds kick off their Premier League season against Stoke at the Britannia Stadium on Sunday, the scene of their final match of last season.
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