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Atlético Madrid close in on Uruguayan defender Santiago Mouriño

Mouriño follows in the footsteps of Godín and Giménez but could go on loan to Real Zaragoza or Atlético San Luis next season.

Atlético Madrid are fishing in Uruguayan waters in search of another centre-back — they are closing in on the signing of Santiago Mouriño from Racing Club de Montevideo.

The club’s president, Washington Lizandro, has confirmed a deal is practically done for the 21-year-old, who is set to join Atlético from next season. Mouriño has no release clause, according to Lizandro, and he says the two clubs are negotiating directly over the value of the player — this is said to be around €3 million.

“It’s more than just interest from Atlético. There were a lot of clubs interested but they are the closest and the clubs are closing in right now,” Lisandro said. “Atlético are close and Mouriño will go to Europe after a break because right now we are in the middle of the season. But for Atlético, it’s important that they have him for next season.”

Atlético have had success with Uruguayans holding down the fort at the back for the last decade. Diego Simeone turned Diego Godín and Jose María Giménez into two of the best defenders in the world during his time at the club. Godín did not arrive directly from his home country, being signed from Villarreal in 2010, but Giménez came straight from Danubio back in 2013 and hasn’t looked back.

Mouriño is set to land in Madrid on Wednesday where he will complete his medical. Atlético want the 6’1’’ defender to play in Europe next season, and while they have considered Mexican side Atlético San Luis as an option, there are rumours he could play with Real Zaragoza in 2023-24.

Giuliano Simeone, Diego’s son, is on loan at Zaragoza and he has prospered there this season, scoring nine goals.