Atletico Madrid is taking things seriously this off-season. Nikola Kalinic, Gelson Martins, Djibril Sidibe and Olivier Giroud are the latest players who could be headed to Spain.
Atletico Madrid already spent €90 million to acquire the services of Monaco’s Thomas Lemar (€70 million) and Villarreal’s Rodri (€20 million) and by the looks of it, those two transfers were only the beginning.
Los Colchoneros won the Europa League last season and finished second in LaLiga, but there were times when Simeone’s team looked weaker than usual and relied too much on defense. His demanding training sessions take a lot out of the players, especially the ones he uses regularly. Therefore, he needs a deeper roster to combat the long season and injuries.
Sime Vrsaljko is currently Simeone’s lone right back (other than the aging Juanfran), which by the standards of any top European club is not enough. An ankle injury prevented Sidibe from starting for France at the World Cup, but he has been nothing but spectacular over the last couple of seasons for Monaco. Atletico has four Frenchmen at the club and already signed another Monaco player in Thomas Lemar. Marca reported in June that a deal was in the works.
23-year-old Gelson Martins is one of the most sought after youngsters across Europe. He’s one of the seven players who left Sporting Lisbon following a training ground attack. The Portuguese side is doing everything it can to earn at least some type of compensation for the €40 million rated Martins. FIFA was forced to intervene and according to 90 min, collective consultation will take place between Sporting and Atletico in an attempt to come to a resolution.
Kalinic didn’t receive ample playing time in Milan last season, forcing him to look for a move elsewhere. His reputation suffered during the World Cup, as he was expelled by national team coach Zlatko Dalic after refusing to enter the pitch as a sub. Character issues is not something Diego Simeone really pays attention to, since everybody listens to him in Atleti. CalcioMercato says the Croatian striker would come on an initial loan deal with the obligation to buy for €18 million.
Unsure whether the new AC Milan management will let Kalinic go, Los Rojiblancos made an approach to Chelsea regarding the availability of Olivier Giroud (Sky Sports). The 31-year-old was France’s main striker in Russia, but failed to score in seven appearances. Nevertheless, he still has a lot left in the tank and could be a suitable backup for Diego Costa.