It’s all but certain that Atlético Madrid will sign a striker this summer. What’s less certain is who that striker will be.
All three of Atlético’s strikers have doubts hanging over their futures. Diego Costa remains an Atlético player, but reports suggest that won’t be for long. Nikola Kalinić has not convinced and should be on his way, too. Álvaro Morata is said to be on Juventus’ radar, as he may be having doubts about his own place in Diego Simeone’s side after being left on the bench in 50 percent of Atlético’s games post-lockdown — and in the RB Leipzig Champions League tie.
Alexandre Lacazette has been linked with a move to the club (again) but recently posed with the Arsenal shirt for next season. He seems pretty excited to continue at the Emirates.
Deportes Cuatro say Luis Suárez is Simeone’s preferred Costa replacement. The report says he could/would receive €10 million a year. Atlético reportedly will offer Barcelona an incentive-laden deal worth €3 million and another €13 million in variables.
There are conflicting reports on Suárez, however, with other media outlets reporting a potential Camp Nou stay for the Uruguayan.
Meanwhile, Raúl de Tomas remains at Espanyol but a move to Atlético has been touted after the Barcelona-based side were relegated last season. Espanyol paid €15 million for the 25-year-old in January. His release clause is reportedly €60 million, though, a fee beyond Atlético’s means at the moment.
There have even been more tangential links to former Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani, with Gianluca Di Marzio claiming Wednesday that his brother is in Madrid for negotiations.
I know the numbers can sometimes be arbitrary but Espanyol's market value according to Transfermarkt this year is €72 million higher than the next team on the list. pic.twitter.com/H5rboLbow9— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) August 31, 2020
Goal’s Ruben Uria says there has been no offer for De Tomas (or midfielder Marc Roca, for that matter) and before anyone arrives, someone will have to leave. Atlético can only sign players worth 25 percent of the money they bring in from sales. For example, if Thomas Lemar was to leave for €60 million, they could sign someone for €15 million.
There remain holes in Simeone’s squad that need to be filled in as thriftily as possible. A Morata deal could bring in a winfdall of cash, along with deals for Lemar and Héctor Herrera. Of course, there are loan options with the obligation to buy — but that leaves you selling your future. It seems Atlético are unwilling to go down that route so far.
Mario Hermoso’s future also hangs in the balance, and several more fringe players could move on before the end of the summer transfer market. The window closes on October 5 and Atlético do not play until the end of September (the 26th against Granada). There is time and with potential departures, there might be funds for reinforcements. A lot of clubs are playing the waiting game in the transfer market after a miserable year that saw many lose income due to the novel coronavirus.
Atlético are no different, but Simeone needs to improve his squad. The club have to be savvy, but Simeone is surely pushing for additions behind the scenes. It’s just a matter of who leaves and who is available at a reasonable price in the next few weeks.