Bayer Leverkusen signs Real Madrid target Palacios from River Plate

After previously being heavily linked with Real Madrid, Exequiel Palacios has secured a move to Bayer Leverkusen.

Exequiel Palacios in action for River Plate   -  Getty Images

Bayer Leverkusen have bolstered its midfield options with the signing of highly rated Argentina international Exequiel Palacios from River Plate.

Palacios, 21, will join on January 1 and has signed a five-and-a-half-year contract with the Bundesliga side.

Capped four times by Argentina, Palacios has been around River's first-team for four years but began to appear more regularly in 2017-18.

A technically gifted midfielder with a keen eye for a pass, Palacios played a crucial role in River's successful Copa Libertadores campaign in 2018.

His form at the time saw him emerge as a reported target for Real Madrid, yet those links went cool despite Palacios' agent claiming in January that talks between the two clubs had gone well and were "quite advanced".

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Two significant injuries – a fractured leg and hamstring tear – disrupted his progress earlier this year, but he has continued to earn praise for his performances since returning to fitness.

River coach Marcelo Gallardo expressed his frustration at having an "almost sold player" before the year had even finished at the end of November, with Leverkusen expected to sign Palacios for several weeks.

Monday brought the confirmation that it has its man, with Palacios' release clause at River reportedly securing them a €15million transfer fee.

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