Various names have emerged as potential replacements for Antoine Griezmann, who appears increasingly likely to leave Atlético Madrid for Barcelona this summer.
Edinson Cavani, 31 (PSG)
The Uruguayan’s name has featured regularly alongside Atlético in gossip columns over the last few summers. Cavani recently became PSG’s all-time leading goalscorer in Ligue 1, and, crucially, is able to adapt to various tactical systems. He knows how to share a dressing room with big personalities, and already has various friends at Atlético. On the negative side, it is almost impossible to get a player from PSG if PSG don’t want to sell him, as Barcelona know well following their failed pursuit of Marco Verratti. Cavani’s salary is also high. He would be a significant investment for Los Rojiblancos considering his age.
Paulo Dybala, 24 (Juventus)
Like Cavani, another ex-Palermo player. Dybala and Juventus coach Max Allegri have had a terse relationship, resulting in the Argentine sitting out some big matches. He could play a similar role to what Griezmann currently does, but would need to increase his defensive contribution at Atlético. Dybala’s talent is not in question, but he must prove he has the attitude to match.
His price could be prohibitive for Atleti, although Juventus have never been afraid of selling their best players, such is their belief in their ability to rebuild. Juve have said that Dybala and Gonzalo Higuaín are off the market. But, then again, so were Paul Pogba and Arturo Vidal.
Sergio Agüero, 29 (Manchester City)
His name has been mentioned since rumours of Griezmann’s restlessness emerged. Agüero upset some sections of the Atlético fanbase when he left for Manchester in 2011. He would need to address that if he were to return. His talent in unquestioned, but his injury record is a concern, and that means Atlético would have to think long and hard about whether he would be a sound acquisition.
Ángel Di María, 30 (PSG)
The Atlético staff are fans of Di María, who has already offered himself to the club. PSG want to sell and Di María already knows the Spanish capital. He would not be a replacement for Griezmann, as such. But perhaps Atlético would be better advised to sign several players with the ‘Griezmann money’ rather than just one. Crucially, Di Maria is represented by Jorge Mendes, who has a strong relationship with Atlético. Like the aforementioned players, his wage demands would be high, particularly as he is entering the twilight of his career.
Ángel Correa, 23 (Atlético Madrid)
His name hasn’t come up, because he’s already at Atlético. That is his main advantage. Nobody within Atlético doubts that Correa’s natural position is the one that Griezmann currently occupies. That is where he feels comfortable and it is why Atlético signed him. Due to Griezmann’s presence, Correa has slotted in to other positions, generally on the right flank. Diego Simeone may be wise to sign players, like Di María, who could allow Correa to flourish in the space that Griezmann leaves behind.
Andrea Belotti, 24 (Torino)
Atlético enquired about Belotti last summer, and have continued to track his progress. He wants to leave Turin but his options are limited as he has only scored 13 goals this season, causing his name to lose its shine. That could be a positive for Atlético because he will command a lower price than 12 months ago. Belotti has a strong character and would relish Diego Simeone’s style. But does he have the necessary quality for Atlético? It’s doubtful.
Álvaro Morata, 25 (Chelsea)
He left his mark on the Wanda Metropolitano when Chelsea visited in the Champions League. He’s another striker who the Atlético staff already like. There is speculation in England that his short spell at Chelsea could be coming to an end, and given that Atlético expressed an interest in him last summer, it’s reasonable to assume they would do so again this year. Morata knows various members of the Atlético squad and could work well in attack with Diego Costa.