Cristian Ansaldi of Zenit St. Petersburg will sign for Atlético Madrid in the coming days. The Argentine full back has completed a medical, along with Antoine Griezzmann, ahead of a move to the Vicente Calderon.
Negotiations to bring Ansaldi to Atleti have reportedly been going on for weeks, even before Filipe Luis departed for Chelsea.
The talks stalled momentarily due to Atleti initially pushing for a loan deal, but Zenit rejected the offer.
Ansaldi made 9 appearances for Zenit St. Petersburg last season scoring 1 goal. He has been playing in Russia for the past 6 years and has won the Russian League twice.
Ansaldi’s versatility as a full back makes him an ideal back up for both Juanfran and Siquiera. The Argentine’s playing style, in comparison with Filipe Luis and Juanfran, is his emphasis on defending.
We may not see the overlapping runs and silky skills that we’re used to but whatever flank he’s deployed on will no doubt be hard to break down.
Ansaldi will be a familiar name to Rojiblancos as he lined up against Atlético Madrid twice during the Champions League group stage.
I personally wrote a match report for the away fixture in Russia and was impressed by the Argentine, who continually blocked off any route down the wing and wasn’t afraid to get stuck into a tackle.
This new arrival is not as high profile as Griezzmann, but is important nonetheless as his arrival brings more depth to the squad, the lack of which became apparent last season as Atleti battled out a grueling end to the season.
Ansaldi’s arrival also casts doubt over the future of Emiliano Insua who is the usual cover for the full back position.
Ansaldi brings fresh ambition to the team and also vital Champions League experience. I question whether he will be content with occupying the bench – he will no doubt work hard to make sure he is in the starting eleven.