​The ​Daily Mail report that Liverpool are still in with a chance of securing a deal for Real Madrid's defensive midfielder Asier Illarramendi. 


Reports suggest that the Reds' deal for the Spaniard hinges on Real's pursuit of Sporting Lisbon's highly rated Portuguese international William Carvalho. 


Illarramendi and Carvalho both play largely the same role on the pitch, but the Spanish 25-year-old has failed to break into the first team at the Bernabeu. 


He appeared in the majority of the club's league games, but made only ten starts in their unsuccessful attempt to win a first La Liga title since 2012 - coming on as a substitute a whopping 20 times, with a further two starts and five substitute appearances in their Champions League campaign. 


Real are looking to move him along if they can bring in a replacement, and it seems like their sights are firmly set on Carvalho to fill the hole. 


The 23-year-old star of the recent European Under-21 Championships (Yep, the age qualification rules are as silly as that sounds) has a £32m release clause in his contract with Sporting, but Real seem unwilling to meet that steep valuation yet. 


Carvalho won the player of the tournament award at the Under-21 Championships despite missing his penalty in the decisive shootout in the final, drawing even more attention to his already impressive performances. 


If he does make the switch to the Bernabeu, it appears that Liverpool have the green light to sign Illarramendi - if the player wants to make the move. 


Reds chiefs are thought to be reasonably confident of convincing the player that the move is a good idea, but he did already reject a switch to Athletic Bilbao in January because he insisted on playing Champions League football - not something that Liverpool can offer him at the moment. 


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