Atlético Madrid confirmed their first signing of the summer on Thursday evening, having agreed a deal with Benfica to bring Nicolás Gaitán to the club.
It’s been no secret that the 28 year-old has been on the verge of a move to the Spanish capital for quite a while now, with Simeone reportedly having requested his compatriot’s signature personally.
Gaitán is currently competing for Argentina at the Copa América Centenario in the United States, but will travel to Madrid in July to complete the formalities and sign across the dotted line according to the Atleti website.
Primarily a wide midfielder, he is known for his hard-work and playmaking abilities, and has caught the eye for his country as a stand-in for Lionel Messi in their recent matches.
After six seasons and 253 matches in Portugal, he joins the long list of players who have moved between Atlético and Benfica in the last few years – thanks in no small part to Jorge Mendes and his influence at both clubs.
The transfer fee is said to be somewhere within the region of €25million, which on the face of it represents good value for a player in his prime. However, Gaitán does not have a European passport so will take up the final non-EU spot in the squad.
Simeone will be pleased to have finally gotten man after windows of speculation, having all but confirmed that he will be at Atleti for 2016-17 via Instagram on Tuesday evening.
He already looks to be hard at work on rebuilding the squad with Andrea Berta and Miguel Ángel Gil Marín judging by the photo, and Croatian right-back Šime Vrsaljko is set to be next in the door if reports are to be believed.
Vrsaljko is currently at Euro 2016, but came out on Wednesday and affirmed his desire to join the rojiblancos. Representatives from his club Sassuolo were supposedly in Madrid on Thursday to thrash out a €20m deal.
Atleti are of course also still looking for a striker, with Diego Costa the big dream both for Cholo and the majority on the fanbase. It’s all gone a bit quiet at the moment, but you would expect things to hot up once pre-season begins on July 7th.
Are you happy with Gaitán’s signing? Who else would you like to see targeted?