The claims have been persistent and insistent since England’s shootout loss to Italy in the EURO 2020 final last Sunday — and for Atlético Madrid, when it comes to Kieran Trippier, no news is, in fact, bad news.
The reports stating that Trippier wants to leave Madrid and go back to the Premier League are gathering more and more steam. Continued interest from Manchester United is tempting the 30-year-old and his family to leave Spain.
Earlier this week, the Telegraph claimed Trippier is “desperate” (yes, that’s the word they used) to return to England, while the Manchester Evening News claims separately that Trippier is “confident” a move to United will happen before the summer transfer window closes. The Sun’s “reporting” even says United are set to complete deals for both Trippier and Real Madrid center back Raphaël Varane, to be announced next week.
Meanwhile, the Spanish press is more focused on the proposed Antoine Griezmann-Saúl Ñíguez swap (which is stuck in neutral for the time being) and has made little mention of the Trippier stories. There seems to be a muted confidence from the Madrid-based journalists that Trippier will stay at Atlético, because he has two years left on his contract and a €40 million release clause.
However, English outlets like the Daily Mail insist Trippier’s contract has not been renewed, even though Spanish counterparts (AS, primarily) said in May that an extra 12 months were tacked on to the 30-year-old’s contract automatically once he passed the 20-game plateau in 2020/21.
The Trippier situation — and it is a situation, make no mistake — should give Atlético supporters pause because it is playing out in exactly the same way Thomas Partey’s transfer played out last summer.
The Spanish papers never reported on the Partey rumors like there was much chance of his departure — until it actually happened. At the same time, English reporters maintained throughout summer 2020 (and indeed before then) that Partey wanted to leave Atlético and Arsenal would be willing to pay his €50 million release clause.
This summer we have roughly the same outlets, from the same countries, reporting on Trippier in wildly different ways — right down to the confusion regarding his contract renewal. And like Partey last year, neither club nor player is taking steps to dispel the whispers — perhaps because there is a certain appetite on both sides for a deal here to go through.
It’s no secret Trippier will be playing in England again someday, and soon. He won many new admirers after his performances in LaLiga last season and at the Euros this summer. United can also guarantee him more years and higher wages than Atlético can (or would, given the one-year renewal policy for players over 30).
And from a business standpoint, Atleti may think twice about standing in Trippier’s way after he played such a significant role in last season’s league title triumph.
Kieran Trippier had the best cross accuracy (75+ attempted) of all full-backs in Europe's top 5 leagues last season (32.4%) pic.twitter.com/G56PHVyrWv— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) July 16, 2021
Amid uncertainty over whether a Saúl exit will materialize given the lack of formal offers for the midfielder, the rojiblancos’ hierarchy might be happy to (nearly) double their money on a soon-to-be 31-year-old defender instead— though Diego Simeone wants to keep Trippier no matter what, because he’s a really good player and potential replacements at his level aren’t readily available.
Atlético have confirmed two signings and one departure so far this summer, but the potential for more drama is palpable ahead of next season’s league title defense.