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Atlético finalize Javi Galán transfer

The ex-Celta left-back has signed a three-year contract.

Atletico de Madrid v RC Celta - LaLiga Santander Photo by Denis Doyle/Getty Images

Update, July 3: Atlético have announced Galán’s arrival after he passed his medical examinations in Madrid on Monday morning.

Galán has signed a three-year deal with Atlético that will take him through his age-31 season. The club reportedly holds an option for a fourth year.

Atlético also confirmed the departure of Manu Sánchez, who will be heading to Celta as Galán’s replacement on a permanent deal. Manu joined Atleti’s academy from Cornellà in 2014 and made seven appearances across two seasons in the first team. The 22-year-old gained experience and enhanced his reputation with two-and-a-half solid campaigns at Osasuna.

The original story, posted June 27, is below.

Atlético Madrid are about to have a new starting left-back.

Javi Galán will become Atlético’s third summer signing after he passes a medical examination this week, after the club found a breakthrough in negotiations with Celta Vigo over the 28-year-old — who will arrive for a figure far below his €18 million release clause.

Atlético will have to part with academy graduate Manu Sánchez in the transfer, and the 22-year-old — who has spent the past two-and-a-half seasons on loan at Copa del Rey finalists Osasuna — will likely replace Galán as Celta’s starting left-back.

But including Manu in the deal has lowered Galán’s price significantly, with Atleti set to pay between €3.5 million and €5 million for one of LaLiga’s best full-backs.

Galán’s move to Atlético will complete the player’s sensational rise up the ranks in Spanish football. Galán began his career with hometown team Badajoz, in the fourth tier. He then played two years for Córdoba’s B team, eventually becoming a mainstay with the first team and joining Huesca in 2019 — where he debuted in LaLiga. Unfortunately, he suffered two relegations from the top flight in three years after signing for Huesca, and Celta scooped him up for only €4 million in 2021.

Galán is a workhorse who played all but two league games for Celta over the past two seasons. He provided six assists over those 74 appearances for the Galician side and led LaLiga in tackles won during the 2021/22 season. Regarded as an elite dribbler at his position (2.05 completed take-ons per 90 minutes in the 2022/23 season), Galán also averaged greater than four progressive carries per 90 last season — showing the kind of propulsive, dynamic quality Atlético really only had last season from Yannick Carrasco (when the Belgian was in form) on the left.

With Nahuel Molina poised to line up on the right opposite Galán, Atlético could now have LaLiga’s best full-back tandem — and both players are able to play in the 3-5-2 formation as well as the 4-4-2. Galán’s imminent signing will present Simeone with a good problem on the left (especially if Carrasco stays) and will allow Reinildo Mandava to ease back into action following his ACL tear in February.

Galán’s signing is expected to be confirmed early next month, along with the arrivals of two other defenders — former Leicester City center-back Çağlar Söyüncü and Racing Club de Montevideo defender Santiago Mouriño.