Atlético Madrid are about to land Diego Simeone’s preferred midfield target.
Atlético are on the verge of signing Udinese skipper Rodrigo De Paul in an initial €35 million deal, with an additional €5 million in bonuses potentially heading to Friuli. The player is expected to sign a contract to 2026 worth roughly €3.5 million per year with the Spanish champions.
Currently, De Paul is participating in the Copa America with Argentina. But upon the tournament’s conclusion, he is set to return to LaLiga after five years in Serie A.
De Paul — who played for Valencia between 2014 and 2016 — has been Atleti’s top transfer priority for weeks. Before the Copa America, he virtually confirmed in an interview with Sid Lowe that he had asked to leave Udinese.
“I said what I thought, what I want,” De Paul said. “I’m 27 now. I’m not going to speak anywhere else because I respect everyone at Udinese, especially the fans who really love me.”
De Paul’s arrival is expected to coincide with or lead to Saúl Ñíguez’s departure. After a season fraught with personal and professional difficulties, Saúl is said to have received widespread interest and is set to pursue a change of scenery after more than 300 Atlético appearances.
Part of the proceeds from a Saúl sale could be redirected to Udinese to finalize De Paul’s move. Furthermore, Atlético will receive €10 million from Juventus after the bianconeri confirmed they will bring back Álvaro Morata on loan for the 2021/22 season.