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January Window and Beyond

For various reasons, Atlético Madrid stars won’t be departing the club anytime soon, despite constant speculation.

Club Atletico de Madrid v UD Las Palmas - La Liga Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Images

As it often is, the January transfer window is quite a strange one, but especially so for Atlético Madrid this season. The club is currently still under a transfer ban during this window, however, despite this rumors are constantly circulating about transfers in and out of the club. Antoine Griezmann is the main target of this speculation, as he is the centerpiece of the team, and the most valuable.

In particular the English press is most interested in drumming up rumors surrounding Griezmann, and the story of his extremely speculative move to Manchester United. It has been reported that Griezmann and the most expensive player in the world, Paul Pogba, are quite good friends, which in press circles is enough to create a transfer rumor.

Are Manchester United interested in Griezmann? Yes, of course they are, but so are most every team in Europe that could afford him. To expect United to be able to spend over €200 million in one season for two players is impossible given Financial Fair Play rules. And though the biggest clubs tend to not be punished as harshly for FFP as others, and even given United’s enormous revenue, it would be extremely difficult to pull this transfer off.

This is all assuming Atleti would even entertain offers for Griezmann, which they likely would not, given the transfer ban. Frequently, Griezmann has reaffirmed his commitment to the club, and in particular Diego Simeone, who there is also quite a bit of speculation about.

At Into the Calderon we have long suspected that the reduction of Simeone’s contract to expire earlier in 2018 would signal his exit from the club, at that time. It seems extremely unlikely Griezmann would depart before Simeone, given their relationship.

It is unclear how heavily Simeone’s exit would and will affect the squad and which players would be inclined to leave around the same time as Cholo. Until that time, however, speculations about the future of certain players is not at all helpful to the club, and understandably many players are getting tired of being asked about it, Griezmann in particular.

“I am happy and enjoying myself at Atlético, I am proud to play for these fans, with these teammates, with this coach. Don’t ask me any more about my future,” Griezmann said yesterday, speaking to AS.

Given Griezmann’s feelings, many of his teammates also linked with moves, Oblak, Saul, Koke etc. have similar feelings regarding constant speculation around their futures.

The only concrete bit of transfer news regarding Atleti players is for the two Hernandez brothers, who both apparently rejected moves to Manchester City last summer in favor of continuing their development in Madrid.

News and “reports” about the future of certain players is inevitable, but the likelihood of any major stars at the club departing before the transfer ban is lifted, and in many cases before Simeone goes is quite small. Until there is significant evidence to the contrary, it is important to not let transfer speculation hang over the club like a dark cloud.