Madrid - Real Madrid midfielder Asier Illarramendi is happy to be returning to boyhood club Real Sociedad after a disappointing stint in the Spanish capital, the 25-year-old was quoted as saying on Wednesday.
The La Liga rivals are expected to confirm the deal shortly and Spanish media reported Sociedad had agreed to pay around €17 million for Illarramendi having sold him to Real for close to €40 million two years ago.
Illarramendi arrived at the airport in San Sebastian where Basque side Sociedad are based on Wednesday morning and told reporters he was "pleased" to be returning and it had been his first choice once he realised he had to leave Real.
A holding central midfielder, Illarramendi has had little playing time at the world's richest club by income, with the likes of Germany's Toni Kroos and Luka Modric of Croatia ahead of him in the pecking order.
He was in the Spain squad that won the Under-21 Euro championships in Israel in 2013 and was named in UEFA's team of the tournament but has yet to make an appearance for the European champions' senior team.
His return to Sociedad could revive his career and may help coach David Moyes towards his goal of qualifying for Europe this season.
The club began their La Liga campaign at the weekend with a 0-0 draw at Deportivo La Coruna