Real Madrid have confirmed Denis Cheryshev's transfer to Villarreal, after the Russian already spent a season on loan at Marcelino Garcia Toral's side. The 25-year-old has signed a five-year-deal with the Yellow Submarine and is expected to serve as a replacement for Denis Suarez, with the Spaniard set to rejoin Barcelona ahead of next season.
Cheryshev joined Real Madrid's academy in 2002 and progressed through the youth ranks, eventually earning a first-team debut 10 years later in a Copa del Rey encounter with Alcoyano. He spent the following campaigns on loan at Sevilla and Villarreal. He was one of the stars of the 2014-15 season in La Liga, scoring 7 goals and providing 10 assists.
Liverpool were heavily linked with his services last summer, but then Real Madrid manager Rafa Benitez opted to call him back to the Bernabeu with the possibility of making him a first-team regular. However, he is most remembered for Real Madrid's bizarre elimination from the Copa del Rey after Benitez fielded him in a match against Cadiz that he was suspended for.
The Russian then moved to Valencia on loan for the second part of the season, but after a promising start to life at Mestalla his progress was hampered by injury.
Real Madrid have now opted to let him leave on a permanent basis, with the explosion of Lucas Vazquez further diminishing Cheryshev's chances of featuring.
"Real Madrid CF and Villarreal CF have reached an agreement over the transfer of Denis Cheryshev. The club wants to thank the player for his dedication and professionalism over the years and wishes him the very best in this new chapter of his career," the club have confirmed.
The clubs did not disclose details of the agreement, but AS reports Villarreal have coughed up around €10m for his services.
Cheryshev has thus become the first transfer of the summer for Real Madrid, with the club yet to make any additions to the squad who recently won the Champions League.
Cheryshev this way become the Zinedine Zidane's first transfer of the summer as the club are yet to make any new additions to the squad who won the Champions League 2016.
Alvaro Arbeloa has left the club following the expiry of his contract, while Real are yet to make a final decision on other loanees such as Fabio Coentrao, Marco Asensio, Lucas Silva, Jesus Vallejo and Diego Llorente. Recent reports suggest that Coentrao could return to back-up Marcelo next season, while Llorente could follow Cheryshev to Villarreal in a loan deal.