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Bayer Leverkusen Signs Exequiel Palacios From River Plate

Palacios had previously been linked to Real Madrid but will head to the Bundesliga instead.

LEVERKUSEN, Germany (AP) – Bayer Leverkusen has signed Argentina playmaker Exequiel Palacios from River Plate.

The Bundesliga club said on Monday the 21-year-old midfielder signed a contract from Jan. 1 through June 2025.

''Palacios is a technically gifted midfielder able to score goals and he has the ability to involve his teammates. He fits in really well with our team and the way we play,'' managing director Rudi Voller said.

Sporting director Simon Rolfes said the club had been observing Palacios ''for a long time and he's really impressed us.''

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Palacios helped River Plate win the Argentine cup in his last game for the club, and the Copa Libertadores final in 2018. River reached the final again last month, but lost to Flamengo 2-1. Palacios was sent off in injury time.

Palacios played 77 competitive games for River and his contract there ran to 2021. Kicker magazine reported Leverkusen was profiting from financial difficulties at the club and was paying 22 million euros ($24.5 million) for the player's transfer.