Derby County: Real Madrid's Omar Mascarell makes loan move
Derby County have signed young Real Madrid central midfielder Omar Mascarell on a season's loan.
The 21-year-old Spaniard can help fill the hole left by summer signing George Thorne, who has been ruled out for nine months with a knee ligament injury.
Mascarell has played most of his football for Madrid's B side, Castilla in Segunda Division B.
"Omar's played regularly in the Spanish Championship," Rams chief executive Sam Rush told BBC Radio Derby.
"He also played in two of Real's three games on their tour of the USA in the International Champions Cup. And he has emerged as a candidate in recent weeks," he added.
Mascarell, who has represented Spain at youth level, made his Real debut in the final game of the 2012-13 season.
He is the second Spanish youth international to move to Derby this summer following last month's arrival of Atletico Madrid B attacking midfielder Ivan Calero on a two-year contract.
Although Mascarell has been on Derby head coach Steve McClaren's radar since his days with Dutch side Twente Enschede, it was the Rams' head of football operations Chris Evans who closed the deal.
"It's become important to us to develop relationships with some of the bigger clubs in world football," added Rush. "And Chris Evans' appointment has been key to that.
"When some of the top clubs have players to whom they cannot guarantee first-team football but still want to keep as part of their squad, they see Derby as a great home for them to develop and improve.
"That's a great recommendation for Steve and his coaching staff.
"We've brought in Ivan Calero from Atletico Madrid and he's already impressed."
Mascarell, who was born in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, was called up last year by Equatorial Guinea, for whom he is eligible through his parents.