Good afternoon Atléticos, and welcome to the first edition of our updated news roundup. Rather than a daily news feature, I will be putting together a weekly roundup of the top stories from the past week heading into our prematch coverage. In the future we may expand the feature back to multiple installments per week, but for now let’s get back to business.
The winter break is officially over, and it’s time for the Liga Santander schedule to fire back up with Atlético Madrid taking on Getafe this Saturday. January also means the opening of the winter transfer window and, predictably, many of the headlines this week involve transfer business.
- Vietto to Valencia
The big story of the day is the official departure of Luciano Vietto for Valencia.
8⃣ @LucianoVietto is with us already! Amunt! pic.twitter.com/BXzw1EL5Lo— Valencia CF English (@valenciacf_en) January 4, 2018
@lucianoVietto will play for @valenciacf_en on loan until the end of the season.— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) January 4, 2018
The departure hardly comes as a shock for a player who struggled to make an impact in the capital despite significant promise. For his part, Diego Simeone seems sorry to see Vietto go, telling reporters the following on Tuesday:
“His departure annoys me because his performances haven’t been accompanied by goals in a team that doesn’t wait. He has been one of our best players. I love him as a person and he is an amazing footballer. It’s a shame he hasn’t been able to add goals to his game.”
- Other transfer news
Atlético have reportedly “blocked” the transfer of Juventus and Napoli target Šime Vrsaljko. Despite an up and down season at Atleti, Vrsaljko remains one of the better young defensive prospects in Europe, and when he’s played he’s been important, laying on winning goals against Real Betis and Alavés.
Fellow right back Juanfran is also drawing interest from Serie A in the form of AS Roma. In the case of the 32-year-old however, a transfer remains a possibility. He is out of contract this summer and so far no new deal has materialized. That doesn’t mean that such a deal won’t happen, but for now it seems both sides are keeping their options open.
Lastly, a handful of Premier League bottom feeders may be looking to scoop up Nico Gaitán to help guide them out of the relegation zone. The official registrations of Diego Costa and Vitolo have made Gaitán surplus to requirements, so don’t be surprised to see the Argentine move somewhere.
- The gag reel
As many of you surely remember, Costa’s transfer saga last summer was often bizarre, sometimes fascinating and always
frustrating entertaining. With that journey finally coming to an end with Costa’s appearance (and 69th minute strike) against Lleida Esportiu on Wednesday, you could be forgiven for expecting that the Costa-related funny business was coming to an end.
Not so, dear friends.
On Tuesday, with Costa’s return imminent, the official UEFA Champions League Twitter account sent out a since-deleted tweet asking fans how many goals they expected to see from Costa this season. Sounds great.
The only problem is that Atlético are no longer in the Champions League this season. Ouch.
Not to worry, though, the Europa League quickly followed with the exact same tweet.
How many goals in 2018 for new Atlético striker Diego Costa? #UEL pic.twitter.com/e2xNmiYao0— UEFA Europa League (@EuropaLeague) January 2, 2018
Cool, guys. Real cool.
Still, if we can get a goal for every time Costa makes us laugh this year, we should be in good shape.