Real Madrid will make a formal offer for River Plate’s Exequiel Palacios according to the player’s agent.
Los Blancos had been linked with a move for the 20-year-old prior to River Plate winning the Copa Libertadores and was expected to join the Spanish giants after the competition.
Will Real Madrid sign Palacios? Four key things to know…
- Palacios made his River Plate debut as a 16-year-old in 2015, but became a big part of the Argentinian team in 2017.
- Los Blancos were reportedly set to sign him after River Plate’s Copa Libertadores final against rivals Boca Juniors.
- Palacios and River Plate won the two-legged final, with one of the legs being played at the Santiago Bernabeu.
- And the player’s agent expects an official offer from Real Madrid to be made in the coming days.
But the final came and went, as well as the Club World Cup, with no deal being announced. However, Palacios’ agent, Renato Corsi, has insisted the two clubs have now been in touch over a transfer with an official offer on its way.
“The leaders of River got together with Real Madrid in Abu Dhabi,” he told La Oral Deportiva de Radio Rivadavia, as reported by Goal.
“In the coming days there will be a formal offer and the operation is quite advanced.
“The family, Exequiel and I want him to go in June and Real Madrid don’t have a problem with him staying at River until then.”
Corsi went on to predict when the offer would be made, expecting it to be within the next few days.
He added: “Real Madrid want him and supposedly River will sell. They agree, so between Monday and Tuesday the formal proposal will be presented.”
Who is Exequiel Palacios?
Palacios, 20, is widely regarded as one of the brightest talents in South America and is already a full international with Argentina, earning two caps in September 2018.
The midfielder made his River Plate debut as a 16-year-old in 2015, coming off the bench in a 2-0 defeat against Newell’s Old Boys. But the Argentine would have to wait until 2017 to become a bigger part of the River first team, starting 13 matches in all competitions during the 2017/18 season.
This year, Palacios has become a more important cog in the team, starting in five of River Plate’s 11 Primera Division games, while also coming on from the bench on three occasions – only missing the last three fixtures.
But he was instrumental in River’s Copa Libertadores win, starting every knockout stage match including the second leg of the final at Real Madrid’s Bernabeu.
A central midfielder by trade, Palacios is at his best when off the ball, whether that’s pressing opponents, tracking back to defend or giving team-mates a passing opportunity, similar to how N’Golo Kante operates for Chelsea- though that is in no means a comparison in abilities at this stage.
The 20-year-old has averaged 2.5 tackles per 90 minutes in Argentina so far this season, while also intercepting at a rate of 0.6 per 90.
It is this which earned him an Argentina call-up, given their midfield struggles at the World Cup, where they failed to support a front-line littered with stars.
But Palacios is not just a hard worker off the ball, the 20-year-old also has the ability to influence on it. In his Primera Division appearances this season, the Argentine has averaged a pass accuracy of 80% while scoring one goal and recording one assist.
Not one for the ‘Hollywood pass’, Palacios keeps his game simple but effective, moving the ball quickly around to pitch to help River Plate forward.