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Atlético interested in Napoli star - report

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The club appears to have zeroed in on a Spain international to reinforce Simeone’s midfield.

Football Serie A Roma-Napoli Photo by Massimo Insabato/Archivio Massimo Insabato/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Atlético Madrid want to sign Napoli midfielder Fabián Ruiz this summer, according to Mundo Deportivo — but the deal won’t be easy, and the player won’t be cheap.

Fabián cut his teeth at Real Betis before leaving for Italy in 2018, and he’s become a critical component to Gennaro Gattuso’s Champions League chasers. The 24-year-old has been a Spain international since 2019 and retains many admirers in LaLiga — FC Barcelona and Real Madrid have been linked with him on-and-off for years.

Meanwhile, Atlético reportedly have already made an approach for Fabián, which Napoli rejected. According to MD, Atleti offered the €50 million it received for Thomas Partey in an attempt to sign Fabián last October, but Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis turned it down so close to the start of the season.

Atlético continue to track the former Betis pivot, and they know a big sale will have to be made in order to bring in funds that will draw De Laurentiis to the negotiating table. MD’s Javi Gómara posits that Saúl Ñíguez could make way if Atleti decided to go for Fabián once more — previous reporting has indicated that Saúl wouldn’t necessarily be opposed to a scenery change once the season ends.

Granada v Napoli - UEFA Europa League Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images
Atletico de Madrid v Deportivo Alavés - La Liga Santander Photo by Jose Breton/Pics Action/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Gómara also mentions a report from AS claiming that Manchester United have lodged an €80 million offer for Marcos Llorente, but the player’s release clause is €120 million and he has no intention of leaving Madrid.

Fabián’s contract expires in 2023, and he has not held substantive renewal talks with his club yet. That could change, but failure to qualify for the Champions League next season certainly won’t help Napoli’s case — the Partenopei currently sit fifth in Serie A, two points off fourth place.

Fabián is a tremendous passer who advances the ball and creates a lot of shooting opportunities for his teammates. He tested positive for COVID-19 in January but he has been ever-present once more this season, scoring one goal and providing one assist across nearly 1,700 Serie A minutes. Overall, he’s tallied 13 goals and 12 assists across 117 appearances in all competitions for Napoli.