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Atlético, Barcelona reach agreement for Memphis transfer

The player has also agreed a two-and-a-half year contract to join the Colchoneros.

Atletico Madrid v FC Barcelona - La Liga Santander Photo by David S. Bustamante/Soccrates/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid, at least for now, have moved on from João Félix. While CEO Miguel Ángel Gil Marín and sporting director Andrea Berta elected not to replace Matheus Cunha after he left to join Wolves, Atlético’s top decision-makers have moved to sign a substitute for João Félix as the Portuguese’s six-month loan to Chelsea has been confirmed.

They now appear to have sealed the deal for their top choice.

FC Barcelona forward Memphis has played just twice in LaLiga this season after he registered a dozen goals in his debut campaign in Catalonia. However, Memphis’s lack of playing time hasn’t stopped Atlético from pushing to acquire him, and it looks as if the deal is done.

MARCA and Mundo Deportivo on Tuesday reported that Atleti reached agreement with Memphis on a two-and-a-half year contract. The 28-year-old is a pending free agent who has been able to negotiate with any interested club since Jan. 1, but the player’s priority has been to stay in Spain.

MARCA’s Luis Rojo said Tuesday that Barcelona wanted €7 million to sell Memphis this month, and other outlets have said Barça were hoping to get Yannick Carrasco in exchange for sanctioning Memphis’s move to Madrid. Atlético have denied that Carrasco will leave the club this month, though discussions about his future seem to be taking place behind the scenes.

Atletico de Madrid v FC Barcelona - LaLiga Santander
Yannick Carrasco is enticed by the idea of playing for Barcelona.
Photo by Angel Martinez/Getty Images

Memphis did not train with his Barcelona teammates on Wednesday as the move inched closer. Relevo’s Toni Juanmartí and the Athletic’s Pol Ballus tweeted that the transfer is expected to be closed for €3 million, with no other players involved in the operation.

Atleti stepped up negotiations for Memphis after discussions about acquiring Real Betis forward Borja Iglesias hit a roadblock over the player’s price tag. Iglesias, Elche’s Lucas Boyé, Osasuna’s Chimy Ávila, and RB Leipzig’s André Silva were among the other options Atleti sought in addition to Memphis.

Atleti also held an interest in signing France and Borussia Mönchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram, but the club was never likely to pay the €10 million-plus it will take to acquire him before his contract expires this summer.

Barcelona’s Dutch forward Memphis Depay (L) vies with Intercity’s Spanish midfielder Miguel Mari during the Spain’s Copa del Rey (King’s Cup) round of 32, first leg, footbal match between Intercity CF and FC Barcelona at the Jose Rico Perez stadium in Alicante, on January 4, 2023.
Photo by JOSE JORDAN/AFP via Getty Images

Though he has barely played this season and concerns over his match fitness are definitely reasonable, it’s worth noting that Memphis is only two seasons removed from a 20-goal/12-assist campaign at French giants Lyon, while his 14 goal contributions in 2021/22 led all Barça players.

Memphis, who has also turned out for Manchester United in a well-traveled career, has four double-digit goalscoring seasons in the past six years. He scored against the United States in the FIFA World Cup last month as the Netherlands made a run to the quarterfinals.

Originally mentioned in a tweet by SportItalia’s Gianluigi Longari, Cadena SER’s Manu Carreño was the first in Spain to report Atlético would like to acquire Memphis to bolster Diego Simeone’s attacking options.


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