Bayer Leverkusen to land River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios

Bayer Leverkusen are set to sign River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios in a €15m deal, according to reports in Argentina.

Strong reports last year had linked the Argentine with a move to Real Madrid earlier this year, with suggestions that a deal had been done, but Argentine journalist César Luis Merlo of TyC Sports now claims he will move to the Bundesliga.

The 21-year-old, who has also been heavily linked with a move to both Ajax and Inter, had been surprisingly rumoured to be joining MLS in recent months.

“Palacios will not be joining Miami, he has taken the decision that he wants to go to Europe,” agent Renato Corsi explained to. Marca Claro last month.

The highly-rated midfielder was said to be on the verge of signing a five-and-a-half year deal with Madrid last January, with his proposed contract containing a reported €15m release clause.

Palacios made his debut for River as a 16-year-old and won two international caps for Argentina last year, attracting interest also from 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 Argentine missed two months of football earlier this year with a knee injury and that significantly cooled off interest from clubs, despite making a full recovery.

The central midfielder has made fewer than 100 first-team appearances for River but helped his club to the Copa Libertadores title last year and again participated in their run to this year’s final, when they lost to Flamengo.

A move to the Bernabeu would have represented a continuation of Madrid’s policy of signing young South American players with Brazilian teenagers Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo Goes captured last year.

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