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Marcos Paulo signs pre-contract with Atlético

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Fluminense’s president wants more out of the deal, but he’s confirmed that the player is moving on.

2020 Brasileirao Series A: Fluminense v Red Bull Bragantino Play Behind Closed Doors Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic Photo by Bruna Prado/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid are set to acquire Fluminense’s Marcos Paulo next summer on a free transfer. The Brazilian-born attacker has agreed to a deal through 2026 with Atlético, which will come into effect when his current contract with his boyhood club expires.

“In the October transfer window, we made the player a new offer,” Fluminense president Mário Bittencourt said on Brazilian network SporTV. “(But) no matter what kind of proposal we make, we will never approach (what the European clubs can offer).”

2020 Brasileirao Series A: Fluminense v Ceara Play Behind Closed Doors Amidst the Coronavirus (COVID - 19) Pandemic Photo by Buda Mendes/Getty Images

According to Marca, Atlético held off interest from Parma and Inter Milan to complete Marcos Paulo’s signing. The 19-year-old, set to join on June 30, is a versatile inside forward who likes to drop deep and make plays down the left-hand side. He has scored three goals with three assists in 24 Brasileirão appearances this season. The teenager flashed his serious potential in a 3-1 win over Athletico Paranaense last month, when he set up his team’s equalizer and scored twice inside the final 20 minutes to seal the win.

In his SporTV interview, Bittencourt expressed his hope that his club could work out an arrangement to receive compensation from Atlético or a percentage of a future sale for Marcos Paulo. However, a June departure rather than a January one seems to have scuppered those plans.

In addition to his exploits at one of Brazil’s biggest sides, Marcos Paulo has represented Portugal at the U18 and U19 levels — scoring thrice for the former.

Levante UD v Getafe CF - La Liga Santander Photo by Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Meanwhile, Atlético are preparing to end Víctor Mollejo’s unsuccessful loan at Getafe before the transfer window shuts — the 20-year-old winger is keen to join Almería after making just four appearances for José Bordalás’ side. Cádiz are on the hunt for another center back before the month ends — having already worked out a deal to sign Ivan Šaponjić on loan from Atleti, the Andalusian side reportedly have interest in next acquiring Nehuén Pérez, who is struggling to see the pitch himself for Granada.