MARCA reports that Atlético will part ways with midfielder Tiago Mendes at the end of the season. On loan from Juventus since January of 2010, the former Chelsea man has reportedly not lived up to the club’s expectations and no effort will be made to retain him.
Atleti’s front office feels the central midfielder’s late arrival to pre-season had a hand in his decline. After taking a post-World Cup break, he spent days in Turin training with the Bianconeri while awaiting his fate to be decided, as it was clear that there was no room for him in the Serie A squad.
When Atlético and Juve finally agreed on a €5.5m purchase price for the former Portugal international, the deal stalled because Tiago wouldn’t accept the 50 per cent pay cut proposed by Rojiblanco directors. Eventually, a one-year loan was worked out that required Atleti to pay the player’s wages in full and he returned to Madrid.
In addition to the purported concerns about his sagging performance this season, Atleti will be hard-pressed to pay the soon-to-be 30-year-old’s €2.8m annual salary another year, especially considering Champions League qualification is now a virtual impossibility.
According to AS, Atlético’s budget will drop by €20m next season, from €135 to €115, and purse strings may tighten further if a Europa League berth isn’t secured.
Tiago currently earns about as much as winger Jose Antonio Reyes, and only superstars Sergio Aguero and Diego Forlan make more than those two.
The Colchoneros’ objective for some time now has been to reduce the wage bill, currently at about €75m. To that end, everyone on the team, with the exception of Kun Aguero, will be on the market at the end of the season, claims AS.
On a positive note, we will have no other choice than to rely on our most promising youth products for the 2011-12 campaign. Koke, Jorge Pulido, Alberto Perea and Borja will all likely see expanded roles on the first team.
In addition to Tiago, Antonio Lopez, Luis Perea, Juan Valera and Raul Garcia are all rumoured to be on their way out in June, given that their contracts expire at the end of next season. In order to avoid seeing these veterans exit for free then, the club will be looking to sell them while they remain contractually bound.
Is there anyone in particular you can’t wait to see gone? Let us know and we’ll see what we can do about it!