Atlético Madrid are on the verge of completing their first signing for the 2016/17, with reports from Spain and Portugal suggesting that Benfica winger Nico Gaitán is close to a move.
The Argentine international has long been linked with a move to the Calderón, and it looks as if the move could be about to materialise as he bid farewell to fans on Friday evening.
With the transfer ban currently frozen as FIFA investigate our appeal, Atlético are wasting no time in preparing their squad for the upcoming season.
Of course, there is the small matter of the Champions League final still to play in the current campaign, but the club have moved fast to secure a target supposedly requested by Simeone himself.
The rumour mill went into overdrive on Friday night after Gaitán waved to the crowd and broke down in tears after being substituted in Benfica’s 6-2 Taça da Liga final win over Marítimo.
Both A Bola and TVI reported that a deal worth around €25million had been struck between the two clubs, and the Spanish press soon followed with the news that the player has agreed a four-year contract.
Gaitán himself spoke after the final whistle, and more or less confirmed that he played his last game for the Portuguese champions. “I’m close to leaving Benfica. Where? I don’t want to say, but it’s very close.” he said.
The 28 year-old only put pen to paper on a new deal at the Estádio da Luz back in December, and looks to be coming for considerably lower than his €45m buy-out clause.
According to MARCA, the transfer has been negotiated within the last two weeks and is now complete, and although details are still unclear, this is most likely another move facilitated by the notorious Jorge Mendes.
Formerly of Boca Juniors in Argentina, Gaitán signed for Benfica in 2010 and soon established himself as a key player, with 41 goals in 253 matches in total for the club.
He plays mainly as a wide midfielder, and is known for his hard-work and creativity. Atleti fans may remember him scoring at the Calderón in Os Águias’ Champions League win last September.
Back in 2014, he and Jan Oblak were teammates as Benfica did a domestic treble, and it looks now as if he is set to follow the Slovenian ‘keeper to Madrid after 10 trophies in six seasons.
Ángel Correa, Matías Kranevitter and Augusto Fernández also know him from the Argentina national team, who he has been called to represent in the Copa América Centenario this summer.
If the the transfer does go ahead as expected, he will become Atlético’s fourth most expensive signing after Radamel Falcao, Jackson Martínez and Antoine Griezmann.
Would you be happy with Gaitán? Where does he fit into the current team?