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Top target Thuram in Atlético’s sights for June

According to MARCA.

Borussia Mönchengladbach v FC Schalke 04 - Bundesliga Photo by Ralf Treese/DeFodi Images via Getty Images

Atlético Madrid ceded forwards Matheus Cunha and João Félix to Premier League clubs during the January window, and only brought in Memphis from FC Barcelona as a replacement for the departed duo. Memphis has played only a handful of minutes since his arrival, putting a further strain on Álvaro Morata — Atlético’s top scorer in LaLiga with seven goals, but a player who has completed 90 minutes only twice despite appearing in every league game so far.

So, once again, Atleti need a “killer” center-forward who can regularly put away goals and act as a reference point. Easier said than done, usually.

But! A fresh report from MARCA’s David Medina says the Rojiblancos have someone in mind for next season — Borussia Mönchengladbach’s out-of-contract Marcus Thuram.

FC Bayern Muenchen v Borussia Moenchengladbach - Bundesliga Photo by Franz Kirchmayr/SEPA.Media /Getty Images

Several high-profile clubs — including serial Bundesliga winners Bayern Munich — are reportedly kicking the tires on Thuram, whose father Lilian was a legendary defender in the 1990s and the 2000s. Marcus’s breakout 2022/23 campaign has seen him score 10 times in the Bundesliga and turn out for France at the FIFA World Cup, where he assisted Kylian Mbappé’s 80th-minute equalizer in the final.

Per Medina’s report, Atlético tried to get Thuram last month while the transfer window was still open but balked at Gladbach’s asking price — greater than €15 million, for a player intent on running down his contract. Sporting director Andrea Berta, a longtime admirer of the player, is ready to try again in June when Thuram’s deal expires, but there could be complications:

Beyond satisfying the player’s economic requirements, there is the list of forwards already on Atlético’s books. Including Memphis, there are four forwards who have a contract for next season (Morata, Correa, and Griezmann), in addition to the uncertain future of João Félix, whose loan to Chelsea ends on June 30. For the Frenchman to arrive, one of the five will definitely have to leave — and Atleti will have to get into the Champions League.

If Atlético manage to land Thuram this summer, the Rojiblancos will be getting a player leading the Bundesliga in shot attempts (61) and shots on target (31) while entering the prime of his career. According to FBRef, just two players in the German top flight have generated more shots on target per 90 minutes than Thuram (1.73), and the 24-year-old’s real goals (10) are in line with his non-penalty expected goals (9.8) based on shot quality.


Medina says Atlético hope Thuram’s national teammate Antoine Griezmann will help convince him to join, just as Griezmann encouraged Thomas Lemar to sign for Atleti five years ago. But the club knows Thuram will ask for a hefty signing bonus given the competition will be fierce, as Bayern and Premier League riches will come calling after him.

And as the report highlights, Atlético really do have to qualify for the Champions League to have any substantial hope of signing Thuram — Diego Simeone’s men have only a three-point cushion over Rayo Vallecano for fourth place.