Cruzeiro midfielder Lucas Silva is close to signing for Real Madrid, according to the Brazilian clubs’ president Marcio Rodrigues.

Los Blancos have been linked to the 21-year-old throughout the January transfer window, with the deal likely to be struck soon after the verdict from the Cruzeiro hierarchy.

Talking to ESPN Brazil, Rodrigues said,” “Lucas Silva’s transfer deal is official and a statement will be made on Thursday. The player has decided it’s time for him to leave.”

“We won’t have any problem finding a replacement. Various reserve team players are ready to step up.”

Real Madrid Carlo Ancelotti despite initially denying any signings in the winter market, later admitted that his side were monitoring the former Nacional-MG loanee.

“We have an interest in signing Lucas Silva but he is not the only one we are scouting,”

‘’After the Club World Cup we will decide if we have to make some signings in January,” the Italian said.

The reigning Champions League holders yesterday announced the signing of Norwegian wonderkid Martin Odegaard, with Lucas Silva expected to be the second arrival at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The Brazilian’s transfer might bring an end to Asier Illaramendi’s Real Madrid adventure. The Spaniard was a €32.2 million signing from Real Sociedad in the summer of 2013, but has failed to nail down a starting spot. The 24-year-old has attracted interest from Athletic Bilbao, with manager Ernesto Valverde confirming his liking for the former Spain U-21 International.

“Illarra? There’s always speculation. He is a good player,”.

“There are players at big clubs who are not interested in coming here, but we know which players are in the range of Athletic. There are four or five,” he was quoted by AS.

Cruzeiro initially refused to budge from their €15m asking price for Silva, but Real’s reported €12m bid has eventually been accepted by the Brazilian club, with the players heart set at Santiago Bernabeu.

A youth product of the Raposa’syouth academy, Lucas Silva has made 58 appearances, scoring 3 goals in the process. Since making his professional debut in the Brasileirão, the defensive midfielder was a peripheral figure in guiding Cruzeiro to back-to-back titles. He was also linked to Arsenal and Manchester United in the past.

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