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Atlético sign ex-Tottenham defender Matt Doherty on free transfer

The right-back will become the first Irishman to play for Atleti.

Tottenham Hotspur v Arsenal FC - Premier League Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Atlético Madrid moved for another discarded Tottenham Hotspur full-back and completed his signing in the final minutes of transfer window deadline day.

Atlético on Tuesday night announced the arrival of Matt Doherty, who will compete with Nahuel Molina for minutes at right-back. Initially expected to be a dry loan with no option or obligation to buy, Atleti have instead signed Doherty on a deal to the end of the season, as Tottenham elected to terminate the player’s contract prior to his departure.

Doherty, a 31-year-old Jorge Mendes client, moved to north London in 2020 after a decade at Wolves. Doherty has made 44 Premier League appearances for Spurs and scored three goals, but he tumbled down coach Antonio Conte’s pecking order and was readily available for a transfer — especially after Tottenham completed the signing of highly-regarded Sporting Clube right-back Pedro Porro on Monday.

As our pals at Cartilage Free Captain noted, Atlético were interested in acquiring Djed Spence over the summer (he has since moved on loan to Rennes). The club also checked in on Emerson Royal before signing Molina from Udinese. Though Molina has shown an improvement in his game since the World Cup, he has been the only natural right-back in Diego Simeone’s squad this season, and Mario Hermoso’s resurgence in central defense this month perhaps convinced the club to alter its priorities.

Doherty is the third player to move between Atlético and Spurs since 2019, joining Sergio Reguilón and icon Kieran Trippier in swapping London for Madrid. And for what it’s worth, Doherty seems to quite like Atlético and the Cholismo playing style, sending tweets in support of the team during its run to the 2016 Champions League final:

MARCA, Relevo, and Fabrizio Romano reported Tuesday morning that Atlético were targeting the 33-cap Ireland international.


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