Asier Illarramendi
Asier Illarramendi in action for Spain against Norway at the European Under-21 Championships. [Reuters] Reuters

Arsenal will face an uphill battle to sign Real Sociedad's Asier Illarramendi after it was reported that Real Madrid are now ready to make an offer for the highly rated midfielder.

Illarramendi is a long term target for Los Blacos and has further enhanced his reputation after impressing in the Spain side which won the Under-21 European Championships in Israel yesterday thanks to a 4-2 win over Italy in the final.

The 23 year old starred alongside Thiago Alcantara, another player wanted by a number of clubs across Europe, and it may now be difficult for Real Sociedad to keep hold of their star midfielder after reported interest from Real Madrid and Arsenal.

Yesterday it was widely reported that Arsenal were interested in signing the midfielder who made 32 appearances for Sociedad last season and firmly established himself as one of the club's best young players.

Illarramendi could well be seen as a long term successor to Mikel Arteta who had a short spell at Sociedad before he joined Everton.

The two Spanish players have a very similar style of play, with both looking to pull the strings from a deep lying position in midfield. However, with Arteta now 31 years old there is a feeling that Illarramendi could well push him for a place in the Arsenal side if he was to join.

It will certainly not be easy to land the midfielder though as there are reports suggesting that he has a release clause of £25.7m in his current contract which runs until the summer of 2018.

Spanish website also states that Real Madrid are now interested in making an offer to Sociedad after being suitably impressed with the midfielder's performances for Spain.

There has been much speculation about the future of Xabi Alonso and Illarramendi could well be viewed as the ideal replacement for the former Liverpool midfielder who also came through the academy at Sociedad.

Madrid would certainly have the funds available to activate his release clause, though it is believed that Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger also has a substantial transfer fund this summer that could be as high as £70m.

However, Arsenal would have to smash their transfer record in order to land Illarramendi and it remains unclear as to whether Wenger will change his policy when it comes to transfers.