José Manuel Jurado is to sign for German side Schalke 04 on a four-year deal, Atlético manager Quique Sánchez Flores has confirmed.
The Andalusian midfielder never quite managed to nail down a starting place at the Vicente Calderón, despite making 64 appearances for the club in the 2009-10 season.
Often relied on as Atlético’s ‘twelfth-man’, Jurado was the subject of a bid from the German side over the past few days, and it was heavily speculated that he wanted to leave.
Jurado brought an end to his four-year spell at Atlético in style on Monday night, scoring the opening goal in los Colchonero’s 4-0 win over Sporting Gijón.
But a deal for Schalke to sign the playmaker had already been agreed prior to the match, according to rumours in the Spanish press.
Speaking after the game, Quique said “Football is like this. Sometimes clubs come and make irresistable offers for players. It’s a very good signing on their part. But it’s also a good deal for us. Atlético is a great club, and are enjoying a great period.
“Jurado is happy. He had a good game and the fans gave him a great goodbye.”
Irresistible is certainly the right word to use. Jurado signs a contract with Schalke for €4m a year, quadrupling his salary at Atlético. But if a deal had been struck prior to the game, should Jurado have played?
“I asked him before the game if he was mentally ready to play,” Quique added. “He said he was. He has been a fantastic professional as long as I have known him.”
The decision certainly paid off. In only the eleventh minute, Jurado scored his final goal for Atlético after Raúl García laid the ball into his path. The German-bound youngster showed great technique and smashed it home from outside the area.
Marca is reporting that the deal is worth €11m, plus €1m for future incentives.