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Mundo Deportivo: Atlético strike deal with Luis Suárez

Is this...really happening?

FC Barcelona v Elche CF - Joan Gamper Trophy Photo by Pedro Salado/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Updates (1:30 p.m. CET): This moved fast. Catalan radio station RAC1 (and others) are reporting that Suárez and Barcelona have reached a settlement that will terminate his contract and allow him to leave the club on a free transfer. His next destination is expected to be Atlético — and Los Rojiblancos will send Álvaro Morata to Juventus on an initial loan deal to create space in the squad.

Catalonia-based newspaper Mundo Deportivo dropped a bombshell Monday morning, as it claims Atlético Madrid have reached agreement with Luis Suárez on a two-year contract.

Javi Gómara — one of the outlet’s Atlético reporters — has written that Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and Diego Simeone have been in constant contact with Suárez, and the offer on hand has proven “extremely convincing” for the Barcelona star. Suárez seemed almost certain to join Juventus earlier this month and traveled to Italy last week to take a citizenship test, but the move collapsed after Juve realized he would not receive a passport quickly enough to be included in a Champions League squad.

Suárez has scored 198 goals over his six seasons at Camp Nou, but the club has been adamant that the 33-year-old will not stay to see out his contract’s final year. Suárez has been in the stands for each of Barcelona’s preseason friendlies, while best friend Lionel Messi — also in the final year of his contract — continues to captain the side after he decided to end his public battle with the club’s board last month.

FC Barcelona Players Arrive For Training Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

Now, there are impediments to completing this transfer. Suárez is yet to agree on a settlement with Barcelona. There are conflicting reports on whether the Uruguay stalwart wants his full 2020/21 salary or whether Barça will make up the difference if another club cannot offer him the salary stipulated in his current contract. There is even a separate story which claims the player will reject any settlement proposal because he ultimately wants to stay.

Meanwhile, Atlético can only afford to sign Suárez if he arrives without a transfer fee, and the club must sell Diego Costa first in order to fit Suárez’s wages underneath LaLiga’s salary cap. There has been little European interest in the 31-year-old forward.

The transfer window shuts in two weeks, and this one might go down to the wire — as might a deal for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, whom Atlético are eyeing for a loan deal in the event Héctor Herrera departs.