River Plate President Unhappy with Real Madrid over Exequiel Palacios Talks

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 2, 2018

PORTO ALEGRE, BRAZIL - OCTOBER 30: Exequiel Palacios of River Plate celebrates the first goal of his team scored by Rafael Santos Borre (not in frame) during the match against Gremio as part of Copa Conmebol Libertadores 2018 at Arena do Gremio on October 30, 2018, in Porto Alegre, Brazil. (Photo by Lucas Uebel/Getty Images)
Lucas Uebel/Getty Images

The president of Argentinian powerhouse River Plate, Rodolfo D'Onofrio, has said he was surprised to learn Real Madrid had engaged in talks with star midfielder Exequiel Palacios and is unhappy with recent transfer rumours. 

D'Onofrio spoke to Marca and relayed his frustrations with Los Blancos for the manner in which they've acted in attempting to get a deal over the line for Palacios, 20:

"Until now we thought it was all false, but it isn't, as we have confirmed this from the part of the representative.

"It surprises us, if it is as it seems, that a stately institution like Real Madrid have acted in this negotiation directly with the football player, without respecting a club like River and behind our back.

"I already said it yesterday and I repeat it: I didn't expect it, this doesn't correspond with the historical ties that we have with Real Madrid, that come from the time of Don Alfredo Di Stefano until today."

TyC Sports (h/t Marca) reported in October that Real had paid €20 million—€5 million more than Palacios' release clause—to get a deal completed quickly, and an agreement could be finalised as soon as December.

The playmaker wouldn't move to the Santiago Bernabeu until June 2019, however, which is similar to the deal that recently took Vinicius Jr. to Real after he agreed a move from Flamengo a year in advance.

Palacios is young, but the box-to-box midfielder is already established among River Plate's setup and earned his first two senior caps for Argentina in September, starting in games against Colombia and Guatemala.

It was back in 2015 that Palacios made his first-team debut for River, but only in the last two seasons has he really started to shine, and football writer Peter Galindo recently hailed him as a star at this standard:

Peter Galindo @GalindoPW

Exequiel Palacios, man. First full season of Copa Libertadores, the stakes grow with every game, and so does Palacios. Such composure. #LibertadoresxFOX

Real already have one young South American scheduled to arrive at their shores next summer. The Guardian confirmed in June that a €45 million deal had been agreed for Santos star Rodrygo, who has earned comparisons with Brazilian compatriot Neymar.

D'Onofrio's frustrations at the Palacios deal are understandable, too, given the recent reports that River were exploring the idea of increasing the cost it would take to secure his signature, per writer Peter Coates:

Peter Coates @golazoargentino

Understandably River Plate are hoping to increase Argentina international Exequiel Palacios' release clause from €15M to €30M https://t.co/6P0BY9LgHt

It looks as though Real might have agreed the higher fee nonetheless given their overpayment. The Argentinian outfit are likely aggrieved at the potential profit lost, while Real may feel they've got their hands on what could be a bargain deal.

That's even though Real manager Santiago Solari already has young options in his ranks, whom some in Madrid would argue deserve a better chance before more investment is made.

Dani Ceballos, 22, has made four league starts this season, while Marcos Llorente, 23, is yet to get one. 

La Liga writer Simon Harrison recently vouched for Ceballos in particular and has suggested he could improve Real:

Simon Harrison @simonhfootball

@mahmoudkhayat He improves Real Madrid’s midfield when he plays, in my opinion simple as that.

River Plate may rethink future negotiations with Real following D'Onofrio's concerns with the Palacios deal.

Los Millonarios are one of the most prolific producers of young talent in Argentina, and Real may be wary of straining their relationship if they wish to stay in their good graces regarding future business.