Just two months ago, it seemed all but certain that full back Šime Vrsaljko would not only leave Atlético Madrid, but would do so as soon as the window opened in January. However, since Diego Simeone elected to start him in a 1-0 win at Real Betis on Dec. 10 — his first appearance for two months — the 26-year-old has made himself undroppable, and he’s been rewarded with a new contract that extends his original deal by one year.
Sime @Vrsaljko amplía su contrato una temporada y vestirá nuestra camiseta hasta 2022— Atlético de Madrid (@Atleti) February 5, 2018
➡️ https://t.co/TzBHlr0eRJ #AúpaAtleti pic.twitter.com/dwri1ioFK1
Vrsaljko was aggressively courted by the top teams in Italy — Juventus and Roma wanted him, and Napoli reportedly had even agreed personal terms with him. But Simeone’s decision to reinsert him into his plans has paid off both on and off the pitch. Vrsaljko has missed just one league game since Dec. 10 (due to suspension) and he’s picked up three assists over the past seven games. He seems fully recovered from the various niggles that plagued him since his ACL tear last March, and this renewal should put any lingering transfer rumors to bed. The ex-Sassuolo man, who arrived in the capital two summers ago, should now be fully entrenched as Atlético’s right back of the present and future.
It will be interesting to see where this leaves Atlético in renewal talks with Juanfran. The 33-year-old is out of contract in the summer, and nothing has been agreed yet despite both parties expressing optimism about striking a deal.