Rumours linking José Callejón with a move to Atleti have long been greeted by rojiblancos in the same way they would react to their favourite childhood pet dying – despair.
Atleti fans have made no secret of their contempt at the prospect of former Real Madrid winger Callejón plying his trade in the red and white stripes – but do the positives outweigh the negatives?
I appreciate that I am putting my head well above the parapet and will come in for some scathing reactions (please leave my deceased childhood pet out of it) but with the recent events involving a guy called Arda something, Callejón could be an effective stop-gap until the likes of Oli and Correa hit their peaks.
Callejón is extremely familiar with La Liga after stints with Real and Espanyol and excelled whenever called upon.
Additionally, Callejón’s versatility makes him an extremely useful signing with the Spaniard being able to fulfill a plethora of different functions. He was initially used as a winger at Espanyol then fell into a deeper, attacking midfielder role at Real and can now be seen as a second striker with Napoli.
Callejón has racked up 32 goals in 102 appearances for Napoli and has been a key member of the squad that has won the Coppa Nazionale and Super Coppa Italia during his spell in southern Italy.
Callejón’s goal scoring abilities are not in doubt, as I’m sure some of you will begrudgingly remember his strike in the 4-1 defeat to Real Madrid back in 2012 (and his celebration), but neither are his talents as far as assists are concerned as he has registered 12 of them over in Italy.
Callejón could quite easily slot in to the vacant winger spot combining both his pace and silky footwork to create a formidable partnership with Juanfran. This would revitalise an area that has boasted skill but not speed over the past four years.
His work-rate would undoubtedly make the bullish Simeone purr and help to reestablish the counter-attacking football that took Spain and Europe alike by storm.
Callejón is by no means a long term solution, rather a temporary fix, a steward of the midfield until one of the young rojiblanco princes, Oli or Correa, rise up to rule the Calderon themselves.
A stumbling block, or should I say black hole, in regards to this transfer is the Madridista past of Callejón.
Having represented a club whose mere mention to an Atleti fan will produce either a burst of expletives or a bout of retching makes the possibility of Callejón ever being accepted let alone cheered next to nothing.
If Raul Jimenez was booed for supporting Real Madrid in his youth then Callejón will need the supervision of the Guardia Civil on match days.
Without the majority of colchoneros wanting to accept it, Callejón seems to be one of the best options for Atleti at this moment in time, and for a fee of around €10 million, would it be such a tragedy if he were to line up for Atlético Madrid next season?