Real Madrid Reportedly Preparing Early January Kepa Arrizabalaga Offer

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistDecember 11, 2017

BILBAO, SPAIN - DECEMBER 02:  Kepa Arrizabalaga of Athletic Club reacts during the La Liga match between Athletic Club and Real Madrid at Estadio de San Mames on December 2, 2017 in Bilbao, Spain.  (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Real Madrid will reportedly make their move to sign Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga "as soon as the transfer window opens" in January. 

Carlos Carpio and David G. Medina of Spanish newspaper Marca reported Real will offer €25 million (£22 million) for their target, whose current contract expires in the summer, at which point he could leave Athletic for free.

What's more, the report suggested a move is all but complete, with Kepa on the verge of agreeing a six-year contract at the Estadio Santiago Bernabeu worth €2.5 million (£2.2 million) per year.

It seems likely Los Leones will instead opt to receive a fee for their 23-year-old prospect now, with some members of Real's hierarchy not convinced by incumbent No. 1, Keylor Navas.

The chances of Kepa moving on this winter also recently increased after ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan reported a certain other European heavyweight was in pursuit of his services:

Kepa is seen as a potential future starter for Spain, one Los Blancos are seemingly hoping to snap up as a long-term investment to protect their lines for years to come.

Marca's Chris Winterburn also noted the place of Manchester United star David De Gea in the speculation, considering it's been him long touted as the Spanish stopper who could eventually move to Madrid with Real:

It's said Kepa has been in negotiations with Athletic for more than 12 months, meaning an extension looks to be out of sight, and he recently opened up on his future and rumours of a move to Real, per Spanish daily AS:

"I am calm, just keeping on playing, keeping on enjoying on the field, that is the most important with my teammates, everyone together, rowing in the same direction. This Thursday, we have a very difficult game, the same as today's was. We are in a moment that we have to throw everything into this and move forward."

Spanish football expert Guillem Balague also recently gave some indication as to just how high a priority Kepa's capture is for Zinedine Zidane's side, via Sky Sports La Liga:

Navas has been guilty of some errors in goal for Real this term, while Kepa has demonstrated a series of highlight-reel moments between the sticks for Athletic, boosting his odds of sealing a winter switch.

Real will either pay Kepa's buyout clause or agree a deal with Athletic to bring him in early this winter, according to reports.

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