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Marca: Atlético eyeing Paul Onuachu transfer

The Nigeria international has blazed through the Belgian league, and Atleti have taken notice.

Rapid Wien v KRC Genk: Group H - UEFA Europa League Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Marca reported Wednesday morning that Atlético Madrid are looking into signing KRC Genk star Paul Onuachu within the next two transfer windows.

Onuachu, a 6-foot-7-inch forward from Nigeria, scored 33 goals in the Jupiler Pro League last year and has produced at an even better rate thus far in 2021/22. Onuachu’s nine goals from nine games are second in the league, and he’s rung up an impressive 0.85 open play goals per 90 this season.

The 27-year-old joined Genk from FC Midtjylland in 2019, and he has scored three goals in 15 appearances for Nigeria.

Rapid Wien v KRC Genk: Group H - UEFA Europa League
Emanuel Aiwu of Rapid, Paul Onuachu of Genk and Leo Greiml of Rapid during the UEFA Europa League group H match between Rapid Wien and KRC Genk at Allianz Stadion on September 16, 2021 in Vienna, Austria.
Photo by Johann Schwarz/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Marca claims that a few teams are interested in Onuachu and Atlético sporting director Andrea Berta has been quoted a fee of roughly €20 million for the player, whose contract runs until 2024. Last summer, Berta attempted to sign Fiorentina forward Dušan Vlahović, but the Serie A side refused Atlético’s €60 million-plus bid. Therefore, this transfer would be seen as a relatively “low-cost” option for the club as it seeks even more forward depth.

One explanation for Atleti’s potential move for Onuachu could be that Diego Simeone does not view new arrival Matheus Cunha as a striker, but rather as an attacking midfielder. Cholo has also used Ángel Correa as a winger again early this season, while Luis Suárez remains the only pure number nine in the squad. Suárez’s contract expires next summer, and it’s not yet known whether he’ll renew, so the rojiblancos have to keep their options open to some degree.

Still, interest in signing yet another forward when the league champions already have five in the squad doesn’t seem to make much sense — even for a player with Onuachu’s goalscoring record.