In our second part of our transfer round-up, we look at the candidates to strengthen our forward line and midfield areas for the coming season ahead of the wholesale changes anticipated.
José Sosa, who’s parent club Metalist Atleti have supposedly not even contacted regarding a permanent transfer, Diego Ribas and David Villa are definitely off, and the departures of World Cup stars Diego Costa and Cristian Rodríguez are more than likely.
However, Ángel Correa is on board and although linked with a move out on loan to help adapt to Spanish football, could hopefully be a sign of things to follow in the market and maybe, just maybe, some long-term thinking from the club. We can dream, right?
We played them off the pitch back in April, but it looks like four of the 11 that inspired a famous win against Chelsea could be plying their trade at Stamford Bridge next year. All will need replacing. Costa leaves the biggest hole up top. Filipe Luís, Tiago, and, as things stand, Thibaut Courtois will all be joining him in south-west London.
However, one Chelsea player has been strongly linked in the other direction, the main sources in Spain and England all agreeing that Belgian sensation Romelu Lukaku is the man chosen to lead the line next year. Sadly though, only a temporary move looks possible which takes a lot of the excitement away, and seems a typically incomprehensible decision from the Rojiblanco hierarchy should it not at least include an option to buy.
AS say that may be because we are actually saving up for a star signing, whom they suggest could be Arturo Vidal at the request of Simeone, but even the more optimistic amongst us may find that a little far-fetched. The much more affordable Ivan Rakitić now appears to be out of our grasp too, the Croatian off to Barcelona instead.
Roberto Gómez from Marca revealed on Tuesday that the club have now turned to former Valencia man Tino Costa to re-inforce the midfield, possibly on yet another loan deal for a couple of seasons as he is said to be unsettled at Spartak Moscow. Logically he would replace Tiago, although with this club you never know. Wonderkid Saúl Ñíguez may also stay next season as back-up.
Aside from Lukaku, links to Soldado and Negredo won’t go away, and another ex-Madridista, Napoli’s José Callejon, has entered the fray. We’re sure that Bayern forward Mario Mandžukić’s request to leave the German champions won’t have gone unnoticed in the Calderón either, although nothing substantial has made the news.
Marca said last week that Carlos Vela had been subject of a highly tempting offer, although our good friend Dani Hidalgo at AS refuted the claim. Since then, Real Sociedad president Jokin Aperribay has come out and said that Arsenal will exercise a €4m buy-back option they have on the Mexican, and could either keep him or opt to sell him on for a higher fee.
Staying with the Gunners, Santi Cazorla has been sounded out as a pricey €22m alternative, although a transfer window doesn’t pass without a customary story linking him with Atleti.
Arda and Koke will most likely stay put and have both made their intentions clear, although will of course continually be linked with moves to the likes of Barcelona and Manchester United regardless. Chances are we will also see Juanfran, Gabi, Raúl García and Godín lining up in red and white past the summer, but anything can happen between now and September 1st. We all know what to expect if any of their buy-out clauses are activated.
Any rumours that you particularly like or don’t like? Which players haven’t we heard about that you would like Atleti to sign? Can the squad be complete before the start of the season?