Looks like Atlético Madrid have decided on a new forward whose surname starts with the letter “M” — though it’s not Álvaro Morata, nor is it former FC Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.
According to reports Friday night, Atlético are in advanced negotiations to acquire Wolverhampton Wanderers striker Rafa Mir in a €15 million deal.
Mir is said to have agreed personal terms to join the Spanish champions, and the transfer will be completed next week after Spain’s run at the Olympic Games in Tokyo ends.
La Roja will play Brazil in the gold-medal game on Saturday.
Messi’s confirmed departure from Barcelona has sent shockwaves through the sporting world — but from a strictly-Atlético perspective, the Argentine’s exit means that Barça will likely hang onto Antoine Griezmann for the time being (though the club’s financial situation is so volatile that just about anything remains possible).
Cadena Cope reported Friday that Griezmann remained Atleti’s top choice to reinforce the attack this summer until the Messi bombshell dropped Thursday evening. Once all that happened, the club activated “Plan B” — Mir.
Atlético sporting director Andrea Berta has kept tabs on the 24-year-old since his days at Valencia B, and the player’s profile only continues to rise.
After a 13-goal output on loan at Huesca last season, Mir scored a hat trick against the Ivory Coast in last Saturday’s Olympic quarterfinal win — he equalized in the 93rd minute before adding two more goals in extra time.
Over his three-and-a-half years contracted to Wolves, Mir has been loaned out as many times (four) as he has made total appearances for the English side (four). He’ll now have a chance to settle with Atlético, where Diego Simeone will hope that he can compete for minutes with Luis Suárez or potentially partner last season’s top scorer.