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The Weekly Rojiblanco: Europa League semifinal Edition

Bits and pieces from the trip to London and goalkeeper chatter.

Arsenal FC v Atletico Madrid - UEFA Europa League Semi Final Leg One Photo by Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

Hi Atléticos, and welcome back for another Weekly Rojiblanco. As it turns out, when Atlético Madrid play Arsenal in a huge Europa League clash, the English language press works itself into a lather. There was a lot to sift through (and not much of substance) and I’m going to do my best to avoid news relating to the bad guys. If you want a recap of the tense but ultimately fruitful 1-1 draw with the Gunners, check out our write up here.

  • Goalie Out?

Most recent repots in the ongoing transfer speculation surrounding Atlético keeper Jan Oblak suggest that no contract extension or adjustment will be coming from Atlético.

Oblak is currently signed until 2021 and has a buyout clause of €100 million—a number the club clearly believes will be high enough to ward off prospective buyers. Alternatively, if a suitor did come along at that price point, the payoff should be enough that Atlético can find a suitable alternative.

Clubs with rumored interest in the keeper include Paris Saint-Germain, Liverpool and Arsenal (shoot!). For his part, Oblak remains noncommittal so this one is far from over.

  • Goalie In?

Should Oblak decide to ride off for greener pastures, Atlético may have a potential replacement in Bayer Leverkusen keeper Bernd Leno. A recent report from Bild (via AS) indicated that Leno is interested in buying out his contract with the Bundesliga club.

Though the specific link with Atlético is unclear in the report, he could be a promising and affordable option in the event that Oblak departs.

  • Simeone boosts Wenger, downplays Arsenal talk

Perhaps one of the more intriguing narratives to come from Thursday’s Europa League clash was the crossing paths of Arsène Wenger—departing Arsenal after more than 20 years—and Diego Simeone—oft-cited as a possible replacement for the Frenchman.

With stakes high for both parties heading into (and out of) Thursday’s first leg, Simeone was quick to praise Wenger while also squashing any current rumblings about his future.

“No, I haven’t spoken with anyone at Arsenal,” he said. “I love it at Atlético.”

Simeone’s name will likely remain at the top of the list anytime a top Premier League position opens. Further, the idea that he may be the next Arsenal manager is not altogether crazy. But for now, it’s clear that he is not going to let speculation be a distraction for his players.