Illarramendi snubs England in favour of La Real return

Asier Illarramendi, who is thought to have his admirers in the Premier League, has returned to Real Sociedad after two years at Real Madrid.

The 25-year-old racked up 56 appearances for La Real during his first spell at the club, having progressed from their youth system to the first team. An impressive showing in the 2012-13 campaign, when he helped them finish fourth in the league, and his showing at the Under-21 European Championships earned him a move to the Bernabeu.

Los Blancos paid £28.5million for the midfielder, the highest amount they have paid for a Spanish player, in the belief he would go on to be a stalwart of their side for years to come. But although Illarramendi went on to play 90 times in all competitions, he struggled to find his best form and has now returned to Sociedad for £12.5million.

This move may come as a disappointment in England, where both Liverpool and Tottenham Hotspur were said to be admirers of his talent. But the chance to return to his boyhood club was too appealing: “I’m very happy everything has been completed as it is what I was looking for and what I wanted. I’m very happy to be back home.”

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