On Monday, July 10, Sevilla president Pepe Castro made the announcement that star winger Vitolo would renew with them, which came as somewhat of a shock, as it was expected that he would make his move to Atlético Madrid later in the week. However, after it seemed as if the transfer was dead, it then surfaced that Vitolo had not yet renewed with Sevilla, and that the announcement was somewhat premature.
What followed was a gloriously silly transfer saga that makes one both love and hate this period of the season even more. Atlético reportedly were scrambling after the announcement by Sevilla, and had not expected Vitolo to bail on the hilariously complicated, ban-influenced transfer scheme. Vitolo then flew to Madrid to discuss terms with Atlético, then is said to have left Madrid to discuss terms with Antonio Conte in London. Ultimately, Vitolo chose Atleti, but the problem then became that Atleti did not have the money ready to pay his termination clause, because...well, of course they didn’t.
Atlético eventually got the money and handed it off to our good friends on the Canary Islands to terminate Vitolo’s contract, and he promptly joined them this morning. The Spain international will play for Las Palmas - his first club - until January, when he can be registered by Atleti, and presumably Atleti will give UDLP its slice of the pie (around €5 million) before then. We can consider Las Palmas fronting the money as an apology for almost wrecking the transfer with their president’s and sporting director’s premature announcements last week.
Sevilla’s boardroom has since produced the wonderfully salty quote of “we have nothing to say.” They will (rightfully) feel they were used by Vitolo in order to finalize this move to a direct Liga Santander rival, which will make any future trips to the Sanchez Pizjuán quite interesting viewing.
Thankfully, the transfer is now done, announced by both Atlético and Las Palmas this morning. Vitolo has signed a contract with Atleti through 2022, which takes him into his age-32 season. The midfielder has long been a transfer target of Diego Simeone, and he finally has his man to occupy the right-sided playmaking winger role, which he hasn’t really had since Arda Turan left for Barcelona two years ago.
Attention now turns toward Diego Costa, which should be a much less complex deal to complete, as the Spain forward reportedly would not mind waiting around for six months until he can play for Simeone again. Assuming Atlético do not totally fall to pieces before January, these two players could make an enormous difference in Atleti’s league and Champions League campaigns.
Should the deal for Costa be completed, it would mark a rare summer in which los colchoneros acquire all of their transfer targets (just two this time, but still). Offloading some deadwood in Luciano Vietto, who is reportedly in talks with Southampton, would be a great bit of business too in a summer in which Atlético cannot register players.