Spanish paper AS reports that Atlético winger Simao Sabrosa will sign with Turkish club Besiktas in the winter transfer market after three and a half seasons in Madrid, though neither club has made any official confirmation.
Turkish agent Ahmet Bulut, hired by Besiktas president Yıldırım Demirören, secured the signing on Friday after reaching an agreement with both the former Portugal international and Atlético officials.
Simao apparently grew restless following a drawn out negotiation process for a renewal on his current deal, which is set to expire in June 2011. Atlético directors had offered him an extension, but it required the 31-year old to take a pay-cut.
The Turkish Süper Lig outfit is willing to give Sabrosa a raise on his current earnings, a factor that no doubt helped sway him into joining countryman Ricardo Quaresma in Istanbul.
As the paper reminds us, this situation closely mirrors that of former Rojiblanco Maxi Rodríguez from just a year ago, when the Argentine winger left to Liverpool on a freebie.
Like in Simao’s case, Atleti looked to offload the player in the summer to no avail, only to watch him hit the road in the winter virtually free of charge.
To date, our No. 20 has appeared in 163 matches in all competitions with Atlético, scoring 31 goals while donning the red and white shirt. In his fourth season at the club, Simao currently has four goals and three assists to his name.
A replacement on the way?
Though few will be left heartbroken with the news of Simao’s departure, most Rojiblanco fans will be weary of Jesús Garcia Pitarch’s past slip-ups. The Sports Director consistently fails to fill the void left by departing players. The running joke on Pitarch is that if you order a sofa, he’ll bring you a lamp.
Ironically, it is José Manuel Jurado’s backup, Ivan Rakitic from Schalke, who Atleti are reportedly most keen on signing in order to replace Simao on the flank. Rakitic will also be a free agent soon, as his contract with the German side runs through the summer of 2011.
Atlético’s fresh new purchase Elias doubles as a winger, so he may take the place of the former Benfica man should no other reinforcements arrive.
Another option Colchonero officials could be considering is youth product Cedric, who is currently shining while on loan at Numancia.
UPDATE: Besiktas confirm talks
The Turkish club has confirmed on its website that they have started negotiations with Atlético Madrid and Werder Bremen for the transfers of Simão and Hugo Almeida.
UPDATE: Cerezo confirms Simão’s departure
Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo has also confirmed Simao’s departure to Besiktas. He told radio station COPE that we most likely won’t receive a fee for the transfer. Although speculation has already begun regarding a possible replacement, Cerezo said he expects no new players will be signed.
The only advantage for Atletico seems to be the fact that we can scratch Simao’s salary off our wage bill, however, it will come at the expense of being left with only one natural winger in the selection.