clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

After nearly 10 years, Ángel Correa is considering leaving Atlético for Al-Ittihad

Atlético want at least €30 million for the World Cup winner.

Athletic Club v Atletico Madrid - LaLiga EA Sports Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images

Ángel Correa could leave Atlético de Madrid this month amid strong interest from Saudi Pro League side Al-Ittihad.

Correa is one of Atlético Madrid’s longest-serving players, having joined the club in 2014 before making his official debut in August 2015. He has made 397 appearances for Atlético — a figure only eight players in club history have exceeded — but he has reportedly grown frustrated with his role in recent seasons, especially since he played a significant part in Atleti’s league title win back in 2021.

Correa has made only six starts from 23 appearances in all competitions this season, scoring five goals and providing one assist. Minutes have been spotty for the 28-year-old — in those 23 appearances, Correa has exceeded 45 minutes on the pitch just five times — and the form has been even less consistent. The FIFA World Cup winner’s past 17 games have seen him notch two goals, and his past five appearances have ended with one combined shot on target — a second-minute goal against Lugo in the Copa del Rey, which could be the Argentine’s final Atlético goal.

That’s because Al-Ittihad (coached by former River Plate boss Marcelo Gallardo) are promising Correa a starring role in the attack next to Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema, in addition to a three-year contract with a €20 million annual salary. Atlético will not accept an offer below €30 million for Correa (whose Atleti contract runs until 2026) and are thought to have no problem keeping him until the summer, seeing as he’s earned Diego Simeone’s trust and has a lot of respect in the dressing room.

Supposedly, Correa is “the key to unlocking signings” this month, with Atlético letting it be known that two players — an attacker and a long-desired midfielder — could arrive if Correa leaves. Multiple outlets have reported that Atleti have already identified the playmaker it wants as Correa’s long-term replacement: Thiago Almada, Correa’s Argentina teammate.

Who is Thiago Almada?

Almada has been a star player at Major League Soccer club Atlanta United since he joined from Vélez Sarsfield in 2022. The 22-year-old was also a member of Argentina’s World Cup-winning team, and he scored his first international goal last March.

While playing for Vélez Sarsfield, Almada was investigated for alleged sexual abuse, part of an incident that took place at a party in Buenos Aires in 2021. He was reinstated after a week away from the club.

Atlético have been linked with Almada as Correa’s substitute because the two share the same agent — Agustín Jiménez, who also represents Rodrigo de Paul. Almada last month confirmed his intention to join a European side this year after two seasons in the United States, and his stated preference is either to play in the Premier League or in LaLiga.

Almada finished the 2023 MLS season with 11 goals and a league-high 19 assists in 31 games, sparking an 11-point improvement in the standings and helping Atlanta United return to the MLS Cup playoffs — where it bowed out in the first round to eventual cup winners Columbus Crew. Despite Almada’s skillset and promise as a long-term Correa replacement, Atleti will be reluctant to meet the reported price tag of $30 million (around €27 million), making a deal appear rather unlikely for the time being.