Alonso takes one step closer to Madrid

Xabi Alonso's transfer from Liverpool to Real Madrid appears to have moved one step closer with representatives for the two clubs reported to have met yesterday to hammer out a deal.

The 27-year-old Spain midfielder has been linked with a move to the Bernabeu since the end of last season but the big spending La Liga giants are reluctant to meet Liverpool's £30m price tag.

The Guardian reports that Liverpool managing director Christian Purslow and Real executive director Jose Angel Sanchez met in Barcelona yesterday where Liverpool were in town to take on Espanyol.

Alonso handed in an official transfer request last week and told Spanish daily AS that he was delighted by the news that the two clubs are finally discussing his future: "It's reassuring to know that Madrid and Liverpool are talking seriously now."

"I decided a long time ago to stay on the margin of everything that was happening. My stance has been clear, as you all know," Alonso said. "I'm a professional and I must wait for an agreement to be reached, but I hope it is resolved soon, for better or for worse."

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