Simeone's search for a number 9: the situation as it stands...
Diego Costa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kevin Gameiro... there are plenty of strikers on Atleti's radar but little concrete movement as yet.
- LaLiga Santander, matchday 20: Alavés-Atlético Live.
Diego Simeone is still waiting for his number nine to arrive. After the signings of Nicolás Gaitán, Sime Vrsaljko, keeper Áxel Werner and Uruguayan wunderkind Nicolás Schiappacasse, the Calderón board want to add the finishing touch to the side for the 2016-17 season with a proven goalscorer to ease the burden on Antoine Griezmann.
Diego Costa, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Kevin Gameiro, Gonzalo Higuaín, Alexandre Lacazette, Edinson Cavani, Carlos Bacca... There are many names in the frame to arrive at the Calderón this summer and although Atlético are willing to shell out for a marquee signing, there are plenty of obstacles in the way.
The former Atlético striker is the club’s primary target. Costa has already told new Chelsea coach Antonio Conte that he wants to return to the Calderón and the board are willing to pay 60 million euros for a player sold to Stamford Bridge for around 40 million two years ago. However, Chelsea will not allow talks to proceed until they have found a replacement.
Both the player and his father have said on numerous occasions that the Gabon forward would like to play in Spain (his maternal family are from Ávila). Borussia Dortmund have rejected an opening offer from Atlético of 60 million euros but there is an additional problem: Aubameyang has told the club that he would like a threefold pay rise on his current salary of four million euros a season.
Higuaín and Cavani
Simeone is a firm admirer of both players but they appear to be out of his reach. Higuaín seems to be close to a move to Juventus, who are willing to meet his minimum release clause of 94 million euros, a figure that is out of Atlético’s market. Cavani’s situation is very similar and PSG are keen to keep the Uruguayan to fill the centre forward role vacated by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
The Sevilla striker heads up the B list of Atlético targets. Sevilla are aware that the Calderón are willing to pay 40 million euros to trigger his release clause but incoming coach Jorge Sampaoli wants Gameiro to remain at the Sánchez Pizjuán.
The Lyon number nine is also admired by the Calderón hierarchy but Simeone has doubts about his ability to fit into the Atlético system. The club does not want another Jackson Martínez on their hands.
Icardi’s wife and agent Wanda has touted her husband to several clubs, including Atlético. Inter Milan to not want to lose the Argentinean but are locked in a salary dispute with the player. Atlético have not expressed an interest in Icardi, who could be using the club’s name to secure his pay rise at the San Siro.
The Colombian forward has been mentioned more in the press tan at Atlético but he is considered an option by the board as he is a proven scorer and familiar with the Spanish league.
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