ATLÉTICO

Atlético to go head-to-head with Barça for Nolito

The Camp Nou club are reluctant to meet the Spain international's 18 million euro release clause, but Simeone has the green light.

Atlético to go head-to-head with Barça for Nolito
AFP

Celta Vigo managed to rebuff the advances of Barcelona towards star forward Nolito but this summer new offensives are bound to be launched for a player taking to the grandest of stages with Spain at Euro 2016. Also, negotiations over an improved contract with Celta have stalled due to the club’s reluctance to pay a commission to Nolito’s agent, something that has not gone down well with the player.

Celta are unwilling to countenance letting Nolito go for anything less than the 18 million euro release clause in his contract. Barcelona, where Nolito once played, were keen to take the player in January but unwilling to meet the full fee and the Camp Nou club’s relationship with Celta president Carlos Mouriño is not a particularly cordial one. Luis Enrique has asked several times that the player be bought but the board feel that Nolito would be a luxury addition as that position is covered by Neymar, Arda Turan, Andrés Iniesta and recent addition Denis Suárez. Atlético Madrid are now keen on taking advantage of the impasse to land Nolito. Diego Simeone is after a skilful wide man who can score goals and although the Calderón made a play for Hatem Ben Arfa, the Marseille player rejected the offer.

Nolito ticks all the boxes Simeone requires. The Atlético boss last summer passed up on Nolito to accommodate Luciano Vietto but is expected to make a bid this year. Atlético are aware that Celta will not budge on the clause and are not in the market for a player-plus-cash deal but the Calderón board will sanction a straight purchase to appease their coach. Atlético are keen to tie up the deal as quickly as possible but with the Euros about to start Nolito’s stock could rise even further, leading to greater salary demands and the intervention of other clubs in any business negotiations.