After months of rumours, Atlético finally confirmed the long-awaited signing of Argentine international Matías Kranevitter on Friday night.
The River Plate midfielder has been the subject of speculation all summer, but he has now signed a five-year contract with the rojiblancos and will join after the FIFA Club World Cup at the end of the year.
Atleti have supposedly paid €8m to bring him to the Calderón, and will hold around 70% of his rights. His debut could come at Rayo Vallecano on December 30th.
Many have compared the 22 year-old to compatriot Javier Mascherano due to his tenacious style of play, and the two could play together next week as Kranevitter was called into the Argentina squad for the first time by manager Tata Martino.
Since breaking into River’s first team back in 2013 he has helped them to six titles, including the Copa Libertadores back at the start of August.
Nicknamed ‘El caddy’ as he worked on a golf course to help his family pay the bills before turning professional, he was also the subject of interest from the likes of Valencia, Inter, Manchester City and Napoli.
“I chose Atlético for their style of play, for Simeone, the city and the language,” he admitted. “I’m very grateful to the club for giving me this chance.”
“Now I’m looking forward to playing at the World Cup with River, and once that’s finished I’ll be ready to give my all for Atlético, from the very first minute.”
Before arriving in Madrid on Wednesday night, Kranevitter took a detour to Italy in order to obtain his European passport, meaning that he won’t take up one of the three non-EU places in the squad.
He and Vietto were Under-20 teammates a few years ago, and he will also get the chance to play alongside Correa for the national team before joining up with the squad on a full-time basis.
Simeone is said to have directly requested his signing, another factor which will hopefully help his adaptation during the second half of the season. He and Giovanni Simeone were also teammates at River before Cholito left for Banfield.
After Rafael Santos Borré made his move official earlier on, Kranevitter is Atlético’s second signing of the day, and almost certainly the last of this summer.
How do you see Kranevitter fitting into the squad? Could he be a long term replacement for Gabi or Tiago?