181215 Exequiel Palacios
Exequiel Palacios Image Credit: Reuters

Abu Dhabi: River Plate midfielder Exequiel Palacios will stay in Argentina until next summer, according to his agent, stifling talk of a winter transfer to Real Madrid.

River president Rodolfo D’Onofrio has already confirmed Real’s interest in the 20-year-old, but the player’s agent Renato Corsi has said any switch would take time as the club were holding out for more than the player’s €15 million release clause.

With both Real and River playing in this week’s Fifa Club World Cup in Al Ain and Abu Dhabi, and possibly meeting in Saturday’s final, it had been thought Real would use their proximity to River to hammer out a quick deal.

River have also just won the Copa Libertadores final against Boca Juniors in Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium, allowing both parties plenty of time to thrash out a deal on the sidelines.

However, River and the Palacios’ agent are continuing to play hard to get.

“He wants to stay until June and doesn’t want to leave for the amount in his release clause,” Corsi told TyC Sports.

“We have made a condition and it is that we will not sell for the clause fee. After the Club World Cup we’ll start to talk about numbers.

“It’s possible that we may agree a deal now and he will leave in June, because then he can start from zero in pre-season, whereas if he goes now it will be with the season already halfway through.”

River president D’Onofrio had earlier confirmed Real’s interest in Palacios to Marca.

“It wrote to Florentino Perez (Real Madrid’s president) a few days ago to thank him for having us at the Bernabeu.

“We are not currently talking about Palacios but about 20 days ago Emilio Butragueno (Real’s director) spoke to Enzo Francescoli (River’s director) about the player, but with a view to continuing negotiations later.

“The economic differences between Real Madrid and River are very large. It’s very difficult to retain a player, but history tells us that the player sees a future opportunity and we can’t cut his career.

“The club can’t be closed and must open themselves up to negotiation. That a player from River goes to Madrid is also prestigious for River.

“He’s at a great level, but I think it would be good to play one more year in Argentina. However, that is not my decision. We will negotiate, Madrid know that.

“He is very young but he is very serious, and seems older than he is. A very complete player. If they really love him, the move would be ideal for both the player and Real Madrid.”

Palacios has only two caps for Argentina, both achieved this year, and he’s scored just three goals in 27 appearances for River since debuting in 2015. However even before being part of River’s recent Copa Libertadores win he was already attracting interest from the likes of Real, Barcelona, Manchester City, Paris St-Germain and Atletico Madrid.