River Plate deny Real Madrid deal for Exequiel Palacios

River Plate president Rodolfo D'Onofrio has played down reports that Real Madrid will sign midfielder Exequiel Palacios in January.

The midfielder’s release clause is said to stand at €20m with Los Blancos reportedly close to agreeing a five-year contract, with conflicting reports of a deal planned for winter or summer.

“It is not true that Palacios has agreed a move to Real Madrid,” D'Onofrio told Argentine outlet TyC Sports.

“The only person to speak to the player was (Emilio) Butragueno but there has been nothing more and Florentino Perez has not said anything to me.”

Earlier this month, River Plate sporting director Enzo Francescoli said: “We will not speak to any clubs until the tournament (Club World Cup) ends.”

Palacios made his debut for River as a 16-year-old and has recently won two international caps for Argentina, attracting interest from both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid.

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have also been linked with the midfielder which is said to have speeded up Madrid’s pursuit of the deal.

The central midfielder has made just 49 first-team appearances for River although 20 of those have arrived this year, including helping his club to the Copa Libertadores title.

Such a move would represent a continuation of Madrid’s policy of signing young South American players with Brazilian teenagers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes captured this year.

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