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Bayern agree deal for Alonso

Stephan Uersfeld | ESPN FC
August 28, 2014 « Morning Bagel: US Open Day Four | Rooney calls for fans' backing »
Xabi Alonso retires from international duty with Spain

Bayern Munich have confirmed they have agreed a deal with Xabi Alonso over the Real Madrid midfielder's proposed move to the Bundesliga champions.

Alonso, 32, is expected to have a medical on Thursday with the German club, who anticipate reaching an agreement with the European champions over a transfer "in the next two days".

The former Real Sociedad and Liverpool midfielder is set to become Bayern's second major signing of the week, following the arrival of defender Medhi Benatia from Roma.

During Benatia's official presentation as a Bayern player on Thursday, his new club confirmed widespread reports of the proposed signing of the highly decorated Alonso, who retired from international football on Wednesday.

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"We are in talks with Xabi Alonso and Real," finance executive Jan-Christian Dreesen told the news conference in Munich. "We've reached a principal agreement with the player, and want to reach an agreement with the club in the next two days.

"He will travel to Munich to undergo his medical today."

Bayern are on the lookout for another holding midfielder as fears over Bastian Schweinsteiger's knee injury continue to grow. The Germany international has been sidelined for the majority of preseason, and he has been struggling with knee problems for most of 2014. It is yet unclear when the Bayern stalwart will return to action.

Thiago, another option in holding midfield, has been sidelined with knee problems since March and is currently working on his return while Martinez, who can play in defence and holding midfield, suffered torn anterior cruciate ligaments during the German Super Cup defeat to Borussia Dortmund earlier this month and has been ruled out for the rest of the year.

"We'd be very happy if it worked out," Bayern sporting executive Matthias Sammer said. "It's a sporting decision to immediately help us. He is also a player who can help us medium-term and play at the highest level for another two years."

Alonso is in line to become the fifth Spaniard in Bayern coach Pep Guardiola's squad. Goalkeeper Pepe Reina, Alonso's former team-mate at Anfield, and defender Juan Bernat have already arrived this summer to join compatriots Thiago and Martinez at the Allianz Arena. Sammer played down concerns that that the growing Spanish contingent might unsettle the squad.

"We focus on the sporting side, and also the individual quality of every player," he said. "The roots of the club are and will remain German, Bavarian."

Bayern Munich confirmed that, contrary to some reports in German media, the club wants a permanent deal for the veteran midfielder and not a loan.

Since moving to Real from Liverpool in 2009 for £30 million, Alonso has won La Liga, the Copa del Rey twice, and lifted the Champions League for a second time in his career last season - when he missed the final through suspension - to add to his World Cup and two European Championship winners' medals at international level.

Alonso is under contract at the Bernabeu until 2016, but is no longer a guaranteed starter for Carlo Ancelotti following the summer arrival of former Bayern midfielder Toni Kroos. With Sami Khedira likely to stay at Real for the final year of his contract, Alonso could be struggling for minutes in the Spanish capital this season.

Although he played every minute of the two-legged Spanish Super Cup - which Real lost 2-1 on aggregate to local rivals Atletico Madrid - Alonso was an unused substitute for his side's La Liga opening win over Cordoba at the weekend.

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