Persistent player movement has defined Atlético Madrid’s summer. With less than a week to go until the European transfer window shuts, Diego Simeone’s playing squad is just about set, though the club has tried all August to acquire Valencia’s Rodrigo Moreno.
In order to facilitate that move — once reported as done but taken “off the table” almost immediately afterward — Atlético have to sell two players to meet LaLiga’s salary cap requirements. Nikola Kalinić is close to a departure, with AS Roma keen to bring him back to Serie A (though they must first sell forward Patrik Schick).
But the other player earmarked for the exit ramp may end up staying, as negotiations between Atlético and AC Milan appear to have broken down after teetering for many weeks.
Ángel Correa has had an agreement to join the Rossoneri for some time, but the cash-strapped Italians have yet to meet Atlético’s asking price with time running out. Los Rojiblancos have reportedly lowered their demands to €45 million (plus a sell-on fee rumored to be 30 percent), but Milan’s offer of a two-year loan with an option to buy was about as far from satisfying Atleti as could be.
In response, AS say, negotiations have ceased and Correa will stay barring a last-minute change. Thus, a Rodrigo transfer will be impossible to complete (even though Atlético struck a deal with Valencia owner Peter Lim to buy the Spain striker). Cadena Cope essentially corroborate this report, but add that Milan offered €35 million for 80 percent of the player’s rights.
Correa soldiering on in the capital may leave him disgruntled and annoyed after the transfer he wanted fell through. This could be a problem, as Correa already is a wildly inconsistent player always on the fringes of Simeone’s first-choice team. Despite 178 appearances over four seasons in Madrid, he has failed to capitalize on his once-considerable potential and become that undisputed starter. The 24-year-old probably is what he is at this point — he is talented and able to play as a striker or winger, but he lacks the end product or maturity to become a consistent, reliable piece in a team of Atlético’s ambition.
Assuming he stays now, it’s unclear how much playing time Correa will see. Thomas Lemar started the wins over Getafe and Leganés, while Vitolo came off the bench to score the winner against the latter. Theoretically he would provide competition for Diego Costa and Álvaro Morata, but Simeone has been partnering one or both players with João Félix. The coach and the Portuguese himself prefer that role behind a number nine, and there is no chance the phenom will make way for Correa if both are at full fitness.
Simeone has started two natural wingers in league games against smaller teams in the past — combined with early-round Copa del Rey action, that could be Correa’s only real shot at minutes (unless there are injuries). As such, even though his contract runs until 2024, the Argentine’s present situation likely won’t get much better and rumors will start up again before the January window opens.