Well, hello Atléticos, and welcome to another Weekly Rojiblanco! With the season winding down, the silly season is heating up. As such there is plenty of transfer drama to chew on, so let’s get right to it.
It should come as no surprise that we start with the latest in the Antoine Griezmann saga. The striker has been the center of rampant transfer speculation since time immemorial—or at least since his breakout at Euro 2016—and that trend continued this week.
The week opened with reports that Barça are prepared to pay Griezmann’s €100 million buyout clause. Further, in an interview this week Barcelona president Josep Maria Bartomeu openly discussed meeting with Griezmann’s agent back in October.
This new round of instigation prompted Atlético Madrid CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín to release an official statement on the matter on their official website, which can be found here.
Of note, Gil points to the timing of the recent reports—with Atlético preparing for the Europa League final next week—as a show of disrespect for the club and its fans. He then takes the matter a step further by suggesting that if Griezmann does in fact activate his release clause to go to Barcelona, Atlético will seek financial compensation from Barcelona.
Them’s fightin’ words.
It is important to remember that Atlético filed an official grievance with FIFA over Barcelona’s tampering back in December.
One thing’s for sure—this story is unlikely to die any time soon and its outcome one way or the other will likely define Atlético Madrid’s summer business.
- Other transfer reports
Reports emerged this week that Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani could be lined up as either a replacement for a departing Griezmann or a depth piece behind Diego Costa and him. Cavani’s PSG teammate Ángel Di María was also reported as a possible transfer target for los rojiblancos.
AS suggest that Sergio Agüero may be game for a return to Atlético after seven seasons with Manchester City. The report claims that Atleti have already made contact with Agüero’s representatives about a possible move. The Argentine scored 74 goals in 175 appearances for Atlético from 2006-2011 before moving on to an even more prolific run with City. He will turn 30 this summer.
On the defensive side of the ball, Atléti are said to be interested in Turkish center back Çaglar Söyüncü. Söyüncü brings international experience and has had a strong season in the Bundesliga with Freiburg. He’s also just 21 years old.
- Ticket shortage in Lyon?
It seems that Atlético have received an allocation of just 9,674 tickets to the Europa League final against Marseille at Groupama Stadium in Lyon. Assuming Marseille received a similar package, that leaves nearly 40,000 seats unassigned in the 59,000 seat stadium.
One wonders if the relatively small allocation favors Atlético’s much closer French opponent, whose fans may be more inclined to snatch up the unallocated seats.
- Odd season-closing friendly with Nigeria announced
It was announced this week that Atlético will play Nigeria in a friendly on May 22. The fixture is just two days after the club’s final LaLiga match against Eibar and will be played in Nigeria. It is unclear what sort of squad Atléti may field for the match, which will serve as a pre World Cup tune-up for the Super Eagles. Gotta love those CAF team nicknames.