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Atlético set sights on Dybala swap deal - report

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Álvaro Morata’s status will be key to any agreement.

Juventus v SSC Napoli - Italian PS5 Supercup Photo by Claudio Villa/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid might be planning another attacking reshuffle as the team’s league title challenge continues to teeter (though Granada’s win over Barcelona on Thursday night kept Diego Simeone’s men top).

According to Italian outlet Tuttosport — which isn’t the most reliable, it must be said — Atlético and Juventus have mutual interests that might see forward Paulo Dybala move to Madrid. In exchange, Juve would get to keep Álvaro Morata on a permanent deal.

Morata is having a good season in Turin, picking up where he left off in 2016 before Real Madrid executed its buyback option for him. The 28-year-old has nearly double figures in goals and assists for the soon-to-be-dethroned Italian champions — he has scored nine times and set up 10 other goals in 28 league games. He’s also expressed a desire to stay in Italy once his loan expires this summer.

But several reports in recent weeks state that Juventus don’t have the cash to extend the Spain striker’s loan for another 12 months. And since neither Morata nor Simeone particularly desires a return engagement next season...

...enter Dybala, whose contract expires next summer and is not on track to be renewed. A knee injury sidelined the enigmatic yet wildly-talented attacker for much of this season, but he’s back now and his next appearance will be his 250th for Juventus.

However, Dybala has been a rumor mill stalwart for years and nearly moved to Tottenham Hotspur two summers ago. And more recently, the player discussed conversations his reps have had with Atlético.

ACF Fiorentina v Juventus - Serie A Photo by Matteo Ciambelli/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

“With Atlético, I have received calls. Not directly to me, they have called the agent who works with me to talk [about my future]. Alvaro has just come from there and has spoken very well to me about the club, the city, the people, the fans. Atlético are a big club these days.”

Now, I hate to be this person, and a potential deal here is fun to think about. It would solve issues for both clubs.

But, in this formula, it probably wouldn’t work.

Juventus’s financial maladies were a key factor in the club signing on to the doomed Super League plan earlier this month, and those problems won’t really be alleviated if no money changes hands for Dybala. The only real selling point in this proposal for the bianconeri is that they wouldn’t have to pay the €10 million fee to extend Morata’s loan. They can probably raise more cash elsewhere.

If Atlético really want Dybala, the club can just wait a year and sign him on a Bosman transfer, with no money or valuable striker heading the other way. Furthermore, Dybala plays the same position as João Félix and countryman Ángel Correa, meaning he’d either have to move into a wide midfield role (where his creative talents won’t be fully realized) or he’d be coming in as a replacement for one of those two.

Things can move quickly and unexpectedly in the transfer market, but Correa and Félix are signed to 2024 and 2026 respectively, and the latter is likely to have another huge transfer fee affixed to his name.