Spanish football clubs open their stores and get creative with their bank accounts as the January transfer window has opened.
Teams can use the entire month to sign and register new players for the second half of the season.
With Atlético looking more and more like a trading post, it seems inevitable that there will be players coming and going this winter.
Day-by-day we’ll keep you up to date on the latest juicy transfer rumours.
30 January 2012: Reports in the Spanish media suggest Atlético third-string goalkeeper Joel could be joining Rojiblanco buddies Diego Costa and Jorge Pulido at Rayo Vallecano, with a move deemed “imminent” pending coach Diego Simeone’s approval of the loan deal.
According to MARCA, Joel may get an opportunity to play right away because of an injury sustained by Rayo ‘keeper Dani against Athletic on Saturday which could keep him out for over a month.
28 January 2012: According to AS, there’s a chance Eduardo Salvio may end up at Benfica again. The Spanish paper cites a report by Portuguese publication Record, which claims Atleti would only be willing to sell the player outright, as opposed to loaning him out again.
The former Lanus man is said to be the Primeira Liga outfit’s second choice reinforcement for the current transfer window, with Guinea-Bissauan-born Portuguese footballer Yannick being the first option to bolster their second half attack.
Salvio spent the entirety of last season at the Estádio da Luz, where he impressed and quickly became a fan favourite. The club wanted to hold onto him over the summer, but his purchase option of €15 million was deemed too high and was eventually declined by Benfica.
The fact that Jorge Mendes represents the Argentine may facilitate a deal. Earlier in the month, the 21-year-old admitted his desire to one day suit up for the Águias again.
24 January 2012: AS journalist Jorge García reports Atlético coach Diego Simeone and sporting director José Luis Caminero will not be involved in any sort of swapping this winter transfer window.
All joking aside, the reporter claims Simeone and Caminero feel comfortable enough with the squad as it stands and will not bring in any reinforcements.
However, Jorge Pulido could follow Diego Costa across town to Vallecas, as a loan deal with Rayo for the young central defender is said to be in the works. Segunda División side Celta Vigo have also expressed interest in the Rojiblanco youth product.
Should Pulido take off, Atlético’s defence will be well-covered as Colombian centre back Luis Perea will no longer operate as a back-up to Sílvio on the defensive right flank.
‘El Cholo’ is said to be pleased with Juanfran’s performance in that role, though Sílvio is expected to re-claim his place in the starting XI as soon as he is match ready.
Perea will primarily be used as a back-up central defender for the remainder of the 2011/12 campaign.
23 January 2012: According to Sky Sports, Atlético midfielder Tiago is attracting interest from “several” Premier League outfits.
The 30-year-old spent the 2004/05 season in England where, a regular fixture on José Mourinho’s Chelsea, he won the Premier League title before moving on to Lyon the following year.
MARCA reports the former Portugal international would be open to a move back to Great Britain, but we at AtléticoFans feel his new role under Simeone may entice him to stick around a little longer.
19 January 2012: It seems increasingly unlikely that Atlético will sign anyone at all during the current transfer window. All of Thursday’s rumours are regarding Atlético’s transfer plans in the summer, when there could be a big overhaul in the centre of defence.
El Mundo Deportivo reports that the futures of Miranda, Diego Godín and Luis Perea are uncertain. The latter is already free to talk to other clubs since his contract will expire in the summer. Sources close to the Colombian defender confirm that a La Liga club – possibly Getafe – has enquired about him.
As it stands only youth products Álvaro Domínguez and Jorge Pulido are certain of a longer stay with the Rojiblancos, although the latter still struggles to get into the team.
Apparently Sporting Gijón defender Alberto Botía has once again been identified as a possible reinforcement for our back line. Remember though, that Barcelona hold the option to sign Botía, who is Domínguez’s partner for Spain U21, so we’ll most likely have to negotiate with the Catalans if we are to sign the highly rated centre back.
Speaking of highly rated youngsters, Manchester United are said to be after one of Atleti’s finest canteranos, Javier Manquillo.
The 17-year-old right back debuted with the first team and has caught the eye of the English giants. We’ll be careful not to lose more youth players, because United, Arsenal and Liverpool are also said to be keeping a close eye on David Gil (goalkeeper), Óliver Torres, Dani Márquez (both midfielders) and striker Ivan Calero.
The five players are all part of Atlético’s invincible Juvenil División de Honor team, who are unbeaten this season.
Earlier this week José Collado left the club and joined Spanish side Guadalajara. The striker was on loan since the start of last season and finished the campaign as Atlético B’s joint top scorer. This campaign Milinko Pantic preferred Pedro and Gerard. The coach lost another player, as Carlitos returned to CD Toledo on a loan deal.
17 January 2012: The early rumour on Tuesday is a follow up to last week’s reports in the Spanish media regarding Borja Valero.
According to AS, the Villarreal midfielder is now “pressuring to sign for Atlético.”
If the claims that the Spanish international is indeed hell-bent on joining our squad have any basis in fact, it would be refreshingly welcome news, as we’ve become accustomed to our players desperately wanting to jump ship; such as the case of José Antonio Reyes, who forfeited close to €2 million to move back home to Sevilla.
Though the Madrid-based paper’s report suggests a Valero transfer is highly unlikely to occur over this winter transfer market, the possibility of his signing this month has not been ruled out.
Two major barriers are cited as reasons why a deal is improbable. First of all, the floundering Yellow Submarine can ill-afford to cut their top playmaker loose as they fight to avoid relegation.
Secondly, the 27-year-old’s release clause is €50 million.
However, an unnamed Atlético front office source told AS that club president Enrique Cerezo, who is purportedly deeply enamored of the Madrid-born footballer, will “by all means try to see him suit up in red and white”.
13 January 2012: Villarreal midfielder Borja Valero is once again being linked with a possible move to Atlético.
SportYou reports Atleti officials have contacted el Submarino’s front office to inquire about the gifted playmaker.
It is said Valero would be pleased with a move to the Vicente Calderón, a long-time rumoured destination for the 27-year-old.
Asturian radio station RPA claims los Rojiblancos are negotiating a deal for highly-rated Sporting Gijón centre back Alberto Botía.
It had been reported back in November that Barcelona had decided they would exercise their €2.5 million buy-back option to bring the La Masia product back to Catalonia in the summer.
Atleti are reportedly in talks with Doyen Group and Sporting however, who co-own the rights to the Spanish youth international. If an agreement is reached and Barça refuse to re-sign Botía, the player wouldn’t be expected to join the ranks of los Colchoneros until the summer.
Diego Costa’s imminent loan move to Rayo is being held up because Atlético are reportedly interested in signing winger Lass and left back José Manuel Casado immediately for €7 million.
It had previously been reported that Atleti were only interested in securing preferential options to purchase those two players in the summer.
12 January 2012: Werder Bremen sporting director Klaus Allofs told German paper Bild his club was keen on bringing Diego back to Germany and would be looking into a possible deal with Wolfsburg.
Diego, however, assured that Atlético is his “present and future”.
11 January 2012: AS reports on Wednesday that Rayo Vallecano coach José Ramón Sandoval has contacted Diego Costa to find out if the Brazilian striker would be interested in a cross-town move.
Costa is reportedly in favour of a temporary stay in Vallecas, and Atleti would be open to loaning out the 23-year-old but would like to include a preferential option in the deal to sign two of Rayo’s promising young talents this summer: left back José Manuel Casado as a replacement for Antonio López, whose contract expires in the summer, and 19-year-old winger Lass.
10 January 2012: Tuesday’s biggest rumour revolved around Atlético defender Miranda. Spanish news website El Confidencial reports the 27-year-old is in talks with Brazilian outfit Internacional de Porto Alegre.
The centre back is apparently displeased with his situation at Atleti, where after a free move to Madrid over the summer, he has failed to nail down a place in our starting XI.
Though Miranda is slated to start on Sunday against Villarreal, it isn’t because he has convinced new coach Simeone. Rather, the Argentine tactician, who rolled out Alvaro Domínguez and Diego Godín against Málaga, has no other choice as Domínguez and Perea will both be serving one-match suspensions.
The former São Paulo man’s exit would free up one of our non-EU spots.
El Confidencial claims los Rojiblancos’ top priority at the moment is to bring in a centre midfielder, but suggests no signings will be made unless someone is sold.
9 January 2012: Reports in Argentina claim another former Real Madrid midfielder, Fernando Gago, on loan at AS Roma from los Blancos with a €7 million purchase option, is on countryman Diego Simeone’s wish list.
Argentine paper Olé reports Roma officials are still deliberating whether or not to exercise their option to keep the defensive midfielder in Rome permanently.
If the Italian outfit is unwilling to shell out the €7 million for Gago, who joined the club on a temporary stay back in August 2011, it is rumoured Atleti would take a stab at negotiating a deal for the four-and-a-half-year Real veteran.
7 January 2012: One more name to add to the increasingly long list of centre midfielders that are linked to Atleti: Derek Boateng.
The Ghanian plays in Ukraine but could return to Madrid, where he played for Getafe from 2009 until 2011.
6 January 2012: Today’s rumours are difficult to get excited about, but don’t let them spoil your weekend!
Former Real Madrid midfielder Mahamadou Diarra has been linked to Atlético. The 30-year old is currently a free agent, after leaving AS Monaco in the summer.
Reyes has gone and Atleti run the risk of losing another right winger. Benfica are said to be keen on bringing Eduardo Salvio back to Lisbon, where he spent the 2010/11 season on loan.
Benfica want to take Toto on a 6-month deal, but it’s doubtful Atleti will be willing to let another forward go without signing a replacement first.
5 January 2012: With José Antonio Reyes’ transfer now official, newspapers in Spain have started linking us to potential replacements. One of the names mentioned is that of Málaga playmaker Diego Buonanotte.
Buonanotte joined our upcoming rivals last summer, but has only made five appearances as a substitute so far.
Another midfielder thrown into the mix is Torino midfielder Gaby Mudingayi.
Do you remember Diego Costa? The 23-year old is in the final stages of his recovery, but won’t be wearing the red and white this season.
With Falcao, Miranda and Salvio all three non-EU spots are taken, which means the Brazilian striker will have to find a new accommodation if he wants to return to the pitch this campaign.
1 January 2012: The man of the moment is José Antonio Reyes, who has openly admitted his desire to leave Atlético.
Atlético wants to sell, Sevilla wants to buy, Reyes wants to go and Simeone only wants players who are committed, so there seems to be little in the way on the road back to Andalusia.
Reportedly the transfer still hasn’t been completed because Atleti want his new club to pay Reyes the wages he is owed, similar to Forlán’s signing for Inter in the summer.
José Sosa was one of the first names mentioned when Diego Simeone was announced as new Atlético coach.
The Argentine playmaker helped “Cholo” to the league title when they were both at Independiente. Sosa now plays at Metalist Kharkiv, but is said to be keen on reuniting with his old coach.
Atlético youngsters Joel, Koke and Jorge Pulido haven’t featured quite as often as they would have hoped this season, and a temporary move away from the Vicente Calderón might be on the cards.
Neighbours Rayo Vallecano and Getafe are said to be keen on loaning Cantera duo Koke and Pulido.
In Scotland papers link us to Rangers star Nikica Jelavic, a tall 26-year striker.
Although it’s highly unlikely that they’ll leave during the campaign, it is interesting to note that Antonio López and Luis Perea are free to negotiate a contract with any team.
The captains both have deals expiring at the end of the season and could decide to leave on a Bosman, but we hope they will be handed a contract extension by the club soon.
Schalke 04 winger Jefferson Farfán also only has six months remaining on his deal and Atleti are said to be interested in signing the Peruvian, maybe even during the current transfer window.
The 27-year-old could come in to replace Reyes, but Atlético would first need to open up a spot for another extracomunitarian.