Kieran Trippier has signed for Newcastle United on a two-and-a-half-year deal worth a reported €15 million, according to The Guardian.
The 31-year-old moved to Atlético Madrid from Tottenham in 2019 and won a LaLiga title during his time in Spain. The right-back’s deal with Atlético was set to expire in summer 2023.
Newcastle are fighting relegation from the Premier League and are planning on spending significant money in the January transfer window after a Saudi-backed consortium bought the club late last year. Trippier is the first of what could be a number of signings.
Atlético are now looking for replacements at right-back, with César Azpilicueta among the many names linked. ESPN and Marca have claimed Atlético are seeking a full-back who can also deputize at centre-back.
The original fee reported for Trippier, more than €25 million, would have given them some extra wiggle room in the transfer market. But Atlético were going to enter the market anyway in order to upgrade Diego Simeone’s defense.
Atleti are already looking at Trippier replacements, with his departure close to being confirmed. They'd prefer a RB who can also play CB. With @RodrigoFaez https://t.co/Kp1kHECw8d— Alex Kirkland (@alexkirkland) January 4, 2022
What do Atlético do now?
Trippier was Simeone’s starting right-back, and the Argentine is not fond of rotating and only rested the English defender when absolutely necessary (unless the player was injured or suspended). The only other natural right-back in the squad with significant game-time is Šime Vrsaljko, but he has never truly convinced Cholo.
Rodrigo De Paul’s arrival has seen Marcos Llorente moved around, and the versatile Spaniard is likely to fill in for Trippier for the time being until a replacement is sorted.
Llorente to the end of the line
The ex-Real Madrid player has long been moved around the chessboard as a versatile option for both Simeone and Luis Enrique with Spain.
Llorente’s career started as a holding midfielder with Alavés while on loan from Madrid, but he was frustrated at his lack of game time upon returning to the Santiago Bernabéu. Florentino Pérez was so unconvinced by the midfielder that he sold him to a direct rival — for whom Llorente was arguably the best Spanish player in LaLiga last season.
According to FBref, Llorente has played as a right-back in eight of 18 games this season. In the two previous campaigns, the 26-year-old has played at wing-back, a central midfielder, an attacking midfielder, and even a supporting forward.
Llorente started at right-back during Atlético’s 5-0 win over Rayo Majadahonda in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.