Real Madrid will complete the signing of Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga in the first week of January, according to reports in the Spanish press.
The Spain international’s contract at the San Mames expires in June 2018 but the European champions are prepared to pay a transfer fee to land the highly-rated goalkeeper six months in advance.
The front page of Monday’s Marca reports the deal will be complete soon after Madrid return from Abu Dhabi, where they are competing in the Club World Cup.
According to the report, Madrid are willing to pay €25m to Athletic, despite the release clause standing at only €20m with an annual net wage of €2.5m.
The 23-year-old has yet to win a cap for his national side but is now a regular deputy to David De Gea and is excelling at club level after long-standing Athletic goalkeeper Gorka Iraizoz left for Girona.
Kepa would likely replace Keylor Navas as the first choice goalkeeper at Los Blancos, whilst it would almost certainly end the long-running speculation over a move for Manchester United’s De Gea.