Atlético Madrid returned to training Thursday in preparation for preseason play. Several of the team’s stars remain in action (Antoine Griezmann and France play in a few hours) or on holiday after participation in the Copa America or EURO 2016. Belgium winger Yannick Carrasco is one such name still away from the team after his side were thrashed 3-1 by Wales in the Euro quarterfinals. However, Carrasco remains a pretty popular guy as Atlético get set for a new season.
Cadena SER’s Edu Polo reports that Barcelona have made Carrasco a transfer target. The two-time defending league champions, per the report (read here, in Spanish: http://cadenaser.com/m/ser/2016/07/07/deportes/1467892792_836694.html) want Carrasco as forward insurance for Lionel Messi, Luis Suárez and Neymar and are intrigued by his eye for goal and potential for future growth. His buyout clause is set at €40 million.
READ: his buyout clause is €40 million.
Sure, the team that did everything it could to not spend €18m on Nolito - a direct request of their coach - is going to spend more than twice that on Carrasco. Uh huh.
Edu Polo, to be fair, does say Barcelona’s board would be more comfortable splashing the cash on a younger player than a 29-year-old without many prime years left. But therein lies another road block: Atlético rather like their young players. Carrasco is a particularly important young player. His pace and direct style of play are unique to the team and he was massively important as last season wore on. And if Diego Simeone says he wants a player to stay, that player will stay; such is Simeone’s control over his playing squad.
So file this one under ‘unlikely.’ Atleti are too smart to sell a player of Carrasco’s importance and quality to a direct rival. He's no Arda Turan.