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The Daily Rojiblanco: August 23, 2017

Atleti’s Champions League group stage pot is set and a handful of transfer rumors.

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Club Atletico de Madrid v Sevilla FC - La Liga Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images
  • Champions League Pot 2 set

After yesterday’s Champions League playoff results, including a win for Sevilla over İstanbul Başakşehir, Pot 2 for the upcoming UEFA Champions League group stage draw has been set.

With this pot set, the list of teams against whom Atlético Madrid cannot be drawn in the group stage is Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain, Borussia Dortmund, Sevilla, Manchester City, Porto, Manchester United and Real Madrid (from Pot 1).

It could be argued that team-for-team Pot 2 is actually tougher than Pot 1 this year, which is good news for Atlético, as PSG, Dortmund and the Manchester clubs could make waves in this year’s competition.

In Pot 1, Real, Bayern Munich and Juventus are clearly top dogs, while Chelsea and Monaco have a lot to prove despite strong domestic campaigns last year. Meanwhile, Benfica, Spartak Moscow and Shakhtar Donetsk should not pose a huge threat to Atleti if we are draw with them.

  • Speaking of Monaco...

AS are reporting that Ligue 1 club Monaco have inquired about Luciano Vietto. The reports suggests that Monaco could be eyeing Vietto as a replacement for star striker Kylian Mbappé, who is rumored to be on the verge of a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Atlético had reportedly reached terms with Italian side U.C. Sampdoria for Vietto, but the deal has apparently stalled as personal terms between the Argentine and the Serie A club have not been agreed. That deal between the clubs was for €20 million, a number that Monaco ought to be able to match if they do sell Mbappé.

  • Marseille come in for Costa

Staying with Ligue 1 for the moment, The Telegraph are reporting that Olympique de Marseille are expressing interest in wantaway Chelsea striker Diego Costa. Costa has long been linked with a return to Atlético, but no agreement has been forthcoming despite the player’s steadfast intent to return to Atleti.

  • Anderlecht testing waters for midfielder Leander Dendoncker

A report from AS suggests that Belgian club R.S.C. Anderlecht have asked Atlético about any ongoing interest in central midfielder Leander Dendoncker. A move for the player to Atleti has been rumored before and it is clear that Anderlecht are keen to make a sale.

However, as has been the case often this summer, the situation is complicated by the ongoing registration ban. Other reports indicate that Premier League club Everton could be in for the Belgian pivot, and the prospect of an immediate transfer may give them the edge — as it did during the Sandro Ramírez saga earlier this summer.

  • Talking Point: The final round of Champions League playoff matches is today. Of the remaining teams to filter into the group stage draw (Qarabağ/Copenhagen, APOEL Nicosia/Slavia Prague, Young Boys/CSKA Moscow, 1899 Hoffenheim/Liverpool, Sporting CP/Steaua București) who worries you the most? Let us know below!