Real Madrid shells out $50 million for Illarramendi

Real Madrid has agreed to a $50 million fee to sign Spain Under-21 midfielder Asier Illarramendi from Real Sociedad.

The fee meets the buyout clause in Illarramendi's contract with Sociedad, allowing him to join Madrid on a six-year deal.

Illarramendi played a big role in Sociedad's surprising fourth-place finish in La Liga last term, starting 32 games for the Basque side.

The 23-year-old also helped Spain's Under-21 side capture the European Championship this summer, and he is expected to be presented as a Madrid player on Saturday.

"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," Illarramendi said of the move to Madrid.

"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."