The 26-year-old had been left out in the cold having refused to sign a new deal with the Premier League side, though he has returned to the first team plans following the dismissal of Brendan Rodgers
Atlético wanted to bring Söyüncü in during the January transfer market, but they could not reach an agreement with Leicester and instead decided wait until the summer. Both Liverpool and Newcastle United were interested in signing the Turkish defender. There was also interest from Germany and Italy.
What kind of a player is Söyüncü?
Atlético went after Söyüncü at a time when Mario Hermoso was practically a forgotten man at the club. Hermoso has been reborn since the return of the World Cup, playing in an unconventional — for Diego Simeone — left centre-back role. He steps out as a left back at times but also has the license to step into midfield where he plays as part of a double pivot.
Söyüncü hasn't played much in PL this season but reportedly set to sign for Atlético. Not sure what it means for Hermoso but it might mean more freedom for him to play in advanced roles.— Robbie Dunne (@robbiejdunne) April 25, 2023
This could just as easily be Hermoso's passmap. pic.twitter.com/zIKJGJ3b0x
Söyüncü is much more conventional, but he does have exceptional strength and a wide array of passing. In ways, he is the perfect fit for a Simeone team that wants to maintain its identity while evolving into something more progressive. He plays on the left of a centre-back three but is right-footed, and that’s something Simeone might not be comfortable with.
Söyüncü’s 708 forward passes last season were 15th among all defenders in the Premier League, and his 1920 passes in total were good enough for 15th. He completed 3.39 passes into the final third per 90 last season and won 5.66 duels per 90 as well.
Across four seasons at Leicester, Söyüncü has made 129 appearances and scored three goals. He moved from Freiburg in the Bundesliga in 2018 and became a mainstay under Rodgers at the King Power Stadium. At only 26, he has already represented his country 53 times, scoring twice.
Atlético looked like a club in serious danger of needing a rebuild before the World Cup, but they have rebounded and looked formidable since then. If there were murmurs about Simeone’s future with the club back then, they have since been completely silenced. If their current form is anything to go by, Atlético could be on the cusp of inventing a new iteration of themselves that is competitive on all fronts.