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Theo Hernandez steps up to Atletico’s first team but could move to Alaves on loan

The French defender is training under Profe Ortega and could prove a versatile option in place of Filipe Luis

Atletico Madrid v Arsenal: UEFA Youth League Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

Theo Hernández is one of the several newcomers that will take his place in Atletico's squad for the coming season. A brother of Lucas and a left-back too, he was a component of the Rojiblancos' academy Juvenil team that was able to conquer both league and Copa del Rey titles this year as one of the most prominent players in the squad.

Theo's natural position is the left side of defense but is also able to play center back due to his ability in the air combined with his physical power. The Frenchman has been training with the senior team since Guillherme Siqueira left for Valencia during the last transfer window, which will no doubt help as he attempts to overcome the most difficult stages of Profe Ortega's preseason training. In addition to his versatility, he likes to get involved going forward, and shows his confidence with a good long-range shot that he is not afraid to show off.

Last Tuesday, El Correo, a local Basque paper, stated Atletico and newly-promoted Alavés were in advanced talks for the signing of the left back on a one-year loan deal. This could be a good chance for the canterano to gain experience in the Spanish top flight in a side where it is presumed he would have no problem landing a spot in the starting eleven.

Theo doesn't have to look too far from home for his motivation and a good example: Simeone insisted on keeping his brother Lucas in the squad last season despite having several proposals to go out on loan and he was eventually able to play in key games showing a calmness and level that did not go unnoticed by Atletico fans. The manager says he prefers the “quality” over the “quantity” of minutes and perhaps staying at Atleti could let Theo continue to develop by training in one of best squads in the world.

The decision lies at the feet of Diego Simeone, who will have to decide whether Theo is a little too raw for the first team or if he can in fact gain quality minutes this year with Atletico. In essence, Theo will have to step up either way, with no long-term replacement for Filipe Luis currently in the squad aside from the Frenchman. Los Colchoneros are facing fown the barrel of a ban from transfer window activity that could force Simeone to move Sime Vrsaljko or Lucas to left back.

More recently, reports have appeared in Brazil stating Atleti may have made an offer of €8 million for Zeca, a Santos player. Zeca is right-footed, but usually plays on the left, and much like every Brazilian full-back, he possesses an offensive nature and will be in the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro as part of Brazil's national side.