Real Betis confirm Real Madrid have agreed deal to sign Dani Ceballos
Real Madrid are "hours away" from completing the signing of Spain under-21 midfielder Dani Ceballos, according to Real Betis president Angel Haro.
Ceballos, 20, rose to prominence while winning the Player of the Tournament award as Spain reached the European Under-21 Championship final this summer, and Madrid now look to have beaten off competition from fellow La Liga giants Barcelona to clinch his signature.
Reports in Spain said Ceballos was in the Spanish capital on Monday morning undergoing a medical ahead of signing a six-year deal with Los Blancos, although Marca claimed later in the day that the tests had been delayed while the clubs negotiated a deal.
Speaking from Betis' training camp at Montecastillo, Haro told AS: "Ceballos rejected a new contract offer from Betis.
"He has an agreement with Madrid and we are all talking at the moment. It will be resolved in the coming days or hours."
Madrid are reportedly paying €18 million for Ceballos, despite the player's contract containing a €15m release clause, which helped to ensure they did not lose out to Barca.
"[If] you make an offer to the player, he has a clause and another club pays that, or more, you cannot do anything," Haro said. "It is not a failure on our part. In the coming hours we can say precisely what Real Madrid have offered. But life goes on, other players will come, and we can say that nobody is irreplaceable."
Ceballos' imminent arrival could hasten the departure of James Rodriguez, with AS claiming that Manchester United, Chelsea and Paris Saint Germain are the three clubs considering meeting Madrid's €70m asking price for the playmaker. A report in Colombia has claimed Carlo Ancelotti's Bayern Munich are also ready to make a bid.
Ceballos will join long-time friend and Spain underage teammate Marco Asensio at the Bernabeu, with fellow U21s Marcos Llorente and Jesus Vallejo also now in Zinedine Zidane's squad, as well as Theo Hernandez, 20, who has joined this summer for €30m from Atletico Madrid.
Despite his young age, Ceballos has already played 105 senior games for Betis across Spain's Primera and Segunda Divisions, scoring seven goals and providing nine assists.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan