Good morning. Forza Juventus.
The Court of Arbitration for Sport’s decision to uphold Atlético Madrid’s FIFA-imposed transfer ban will have many repercussions this summer as sporting directors Andrea Berta and José Caminero try to improve a team that needs fresh blood. Most of aforementioned fresh blood will come immediately in the form of players returning from loans (more on that later), but some may yet arrive in January when Atlético will be allowed to register players.
Case in point: Sandro Ramírez. The Málaga marksman has been heavily linked with Atlético, in addition to Everton and Sevilla, as he’s coming off a breakout campaign and is available for just €6 million thanks to the buyout clause in his contract. The CAS ruling was supposed to dent Atleti’s chances for the ex-Barcelona man, but AS say this is not necessarily the case.
The report says Sandro, Atlético and Málaga all reached agreement on a transfer. Málaga expect to receive the €6 million from Atlético and will be more than happy to keep Sandro on loan until January, when he would be registered as one of Diego Simeone’s players and join up with his new team.
This is an arrangement that would suit all parties. A promising Málaga side would keep its best player for another six months, Sandro would get regular playing time at La Rosaleda and Atlético wouldn’t have to worry about the player being cup-tied for the Champions League as Málaga aren’t in it. It remains to be seen if a further agreement is worked out that would prevent Sandro from playing in the Copa del Rey or against Atlético in LaLiga, but Atleti should jump all over this regardless.
So seeing as the CAS has decided (justifiably, I might add) to rain all over Atlético’s summer parade, a large chunk of new arrivals will be familiar faces. Atleti are set to recall several loaned-out players to boost squad depth and provide competition for incumbent starters.
AS have an update on a few of the 11 total players who could be recalled. The Madrid daily say Matías Kranevitter is certain to return and join Gabi and Augusto Fernández as Simeone’s options in central midfield. The Argentine just finished an unhappy loan spell at Sevilla, where he was in and out of Jorge Sampaoli’s team. Despite just 21 league appearances (14 starts) and generally inconsistent form, the 24-year-old still has a lot of potential and will get another chance to show he can cut it at a big club.
More interestingly, AS say Simeone will keep only one of Diogo Jota or Luciano Vietto. The former was on loan at Porto this season and impressed with eight goals and five assists over in Liga NOS, while the latter was essentially out of Sampaoli’s plans at Sevilla in March following a rip-roaring start to the season.
With Antoine Griezmann staying for the 2017-18 season and no departures expected among Atlético’s forwards otherwise, it’s hard to see Vietto getting much time - and as a player who has struggled to nailed down a starting spot at three teams in LaLiga, one may wonder how many more chances the Argentine should get. Atleti could use a wide presence such as the lanky, explosive Jota, so for now my money is on the 20-year-old eventually getting the nod.
Following Griezmann’s decision to stay (and corresponding pay rise), Atlético will work to tie down more key members of the side. The first to receive a renewal likely will be Fernando Torres. Nothing has been finalized with the 33-year-old, but he has declared his intention to stay, Simeone has told him he will start next season (sigh) and it is expected that his new deal will be announced next week.
Jan Oblak is set to receive a new deal as well, complete with higher wages and maybe even a bump to €100 million buyout clause - already a record for a goalkeeper. Finally, Saúl Ñíguez is said to have offers from Arsenal, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur but will renew instead, with a wage increase and a higher buyout clause (currently set at €80 million).