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Savić transfer to Saudi Arabia ‘heating up’

The Montenegrin has a year left on his Atlético contract.

Atletico de Madrid v Real Betis - LaLiga Santander Photo by Diego Souto/Quality Sport Images/Getty Images

Where one trail goes cold, another heats up.

Multiple Atlético Madrid players are drawing interest from the Saudi Pro League as the transfer window enters its final month. Yannick Carrasco is mulling over a Middle East move while an Al-Ahli emissary has reportedly made contact with Marcos Llorente’s camp — although no move is imminent. Earlier this summer, Saúl Ñíguez turned down a transfer to Al-Nassr, and now we’re going to see what happens with Stefan Savić.

Savić has reportedly emerged as a target for Al-Shabab, the same club that has made contact with Carrasco and Álvaro Morata. The 32-year-old could possibly leave Atlético before the window slams shut, as the club is interested in doing a deal for a player who has one year left on his contract:

L’Equipe reported last Monday that the Saudi club Al Shabab has shown interest in (Savić). And, as AS has learned, the offer to incorporate Savić is very serious. … Savić is happy to be a Rojiblanco, and he would never force an exit, but the salary offer that comes from Arabia is one that Atlético cannot make at the moment. And (the proposal is also strong for) Atlético, increasingly close to the €14 million that Los Colchoneros have requested, although it hasn't reached that figure.

Savić joined Atlético from Fiorentina in 2015 and has gone on to make 264 appearances for the club. The Montenegro international was a standout performer during Los Rojiblancos’ LaLiga triumph in 2021, but he has struggled to maintain the same level in the two seasons since. He played only 22 games in the league last season through a combination of injuries and suspensions — and he’s not getting any younger.

Officially, Savić’s contract runs out in 2024, but there is a clause in the contract that triggers a further one-year extension if he plays a certain number of games this season. Savić is Atlético’s fourth captain and someone head coach Diego Simeone has always counted on, and El Cholo does not seem as if he is preparing for the player’s departure — Savić started Wednesday night’s friendly against Real Sociedad at Estadio BBVA in Monterrey, Mexico.

Let’s face it, a €14 million fee for a center-back signed eight years ago for €10 million plus Mario Suárez would be good business. But a Savić departure in the window’s final weeks would force Atlético into a tough decision. Does sporting director Andrea Berta dip back into the market to sign another central defender to complement César Azpilicueta, Mario Hermoso, Çağlar Söyüncü, and the currently injured José Giménez? Or does 21-year-old Santiago Mouriño, a new signing from Racing Montevideo, stay in the squad instead of going on loan?