Real Madrid have agreed to sign Spain Under-21 midfielder Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad, the two clubs have confirmed.
The Basque club's president, Jokin Aperribay, told a press conference that Real had deposited the €38 million demanded in Illarramendi’s buyout clause with the Spanish Football League.
Real, meanwhile, said the 23-year-old had agreed a six-year contract and would be presented as their player on Saturday.
Illarramendi broke into the Sociedad first team in 2011 but exploded onto the scene last season, playing 34 games and helping his side to a surprise fourth-placed finish. He also starred in Spain’s Under-21 European Championship triumph in Israel last month.
With reports in Spain suggesting Xabi Alonso could leave Madrid before the start of next season, ‘Illarra’ has emerged as a replacement. Both players are from Gipuzcoa, in northern Spain, and both came through the ranks at Sociedad.
In an emotional press conference, Illarramendi said: "I thought long and hard with the people around me, and I came to the conclusion that it was a unique offer and opportunity, one I couldn't refuse.
"I will give my all in all the training sessions, and if I play I will give my all then, too. I love Sociedad, but a decision had to be taken - and, of course, Real Madrid excites me too."
Aperribay said: "We would have preferred to hold on to Asier Illarramendi than get the money, but life goes on."