Athletic warn Kepa: Pay buy-out clause if you want to join Real Madrid

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The young shot-stopper has been linked with a Bernabeu switch, but his current club will not let him go for less than his €20 million release fee

Athletic Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has been told he must pay his buy-out clause in full if he is to leave the club for Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to the Liga champions in January as they look to bring in competition for Keylor Navas.

Kepa's contract expires at the end of the season and talks over a new deal appear to have broken down, despite months of negotiations.

However, club president Josu Urrutia insists the player will not be sold next month unless his release clause, reportedly set at €20m, is paid in full.

"There is nothing to say about Kepa because there has not been a definitive response," he told a news conference. "I would add that it is a process that has been going on for 15 months without interruption. It did not make the headlines when we started the negotiations and we had two years ahead of us.

Kepa Arrizabalaga Athletic Club

"We are aware of what has been reported but we have had no confirmation from the player's representatives or those from Real Madrid [about interest in a transfer]. We are not aware of any team that is negotiating with Kepa.

"Athletic are not a selling club and if a player wants to leave then first of all it has to be his wish and then they need to pay the buy-out clause."

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Urrutia compared Kepa's situation to that of striker Fernando Llorente, who joined Juventus on a free transfer in July 2013 after agreeing terms over a move in January of the same year.

"We talked for a long time, it appeared as though we had some common ground and then at the end he said that he was not going to renew," he said.

"I don't know what happened for him to decide that but that is in the past and we will see what happens here."

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