This week's Frivolous or For Real is full of surprises as Atletico Madrid's rumor mill heats up. EURO 2016 is in full swing and actual transfer activity slowed to a crawl, meaning desperation ensues for clicks. Let's wade through this week's batch of transfer-related fun:
The skinny: Straight out of AS, Atletico have reportedly made contact with the Borussia Dortmund forward's agent and father to gauge his interest in making the move to Spain. Aubameyang scored 39 goals in 49 games last season and was named the Bundesliga's Player of the Year.
Verdict: Frivolous. For one, Aubameyang has registered an interest in joining Real Madrid - but there's no room for the 27-year-old at this time. That should be a red flag. Second, BVB have already sold two key players this summer and are loath to let another one go, even while the transfer window remains shut. Third, even while Atletico could probably afford to pay Dortmund's asking price - 60 million euros or thereabouts - agreeing personal terms will prove a challenge (think 10 million euros per season as a starting point). Aubameyang would stand at the forefront of a lethal counterattack if he were to don red and white but his signing simply is not feasible. The team may have to make do with Diego Costa instead, I hear he's decent. (More on that below.)
The skinny: Marca have run this story a few times now, so it's worth mentioning. Real Madrid apparently want Gimenez to bridge the gap when the Pepe/Sergio Ramos era ends at some point. However, AS say the top suitor is Manchester City, and Atletico are apparently so spooked by Pep Guardiola's interest that Villarreal center back Mateo Musacchio has been lined up as a replacement.
Verdict: Frivolous. While the naming of Gimenez' prospective replacement is curious (and a Football Manager-style move), ultimately it is not likely that the young Uruguayan moves this summer. Side-stepping any potential interest from Real Madrid (Atleti would never sell to its crosstown rival, let alone the team that eliminated it from the Champions League the past three seasons), Josema's steep buyout clause would represent quite the investment even for Man City. What's more, the 21-year-old still has much more to learn under Diego Godin's and Diego Simeone's guidance, and nothing gets done without the approval of the latter anyway.
The skinny: Hey, it's this guy again. Javier Matallanas in AS writes that Costa's situation at Chelsea is becoming increasingly desperate; he has instructed agent Jorge Mendes to help him get back under Simeone's orders by July 7. Chelsea are working on bringing in Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata as the replacement.
Verdict: For Real. Costa is the choice. Always has been. Barring a seismic shift in the waters, he will return to the Vicente Calderon this summer, as the player wants it and the two clubs involved want it. But keep in mind that Chelsea are prepared to drag out negotiations as long as needed - so that Antonio Conte has time to secure a replacement and so the club can extract the maximum fee from Atletico. While Costa and Atleti may want his return sorted out by the time training resumes on July 7, Costa's current club likely sees things differently. Last year, Chelsea stalled on sending Filipe Luis back to Madrid in order to complete a move for Augsburg's Baba Rahman. Those corresponding transfers did not get done until the end of July. Don't be surprised if something similar happens this summer, as Real Madrid decide what to do with Morata and Everton try to hang onto Romelu Lukaku.