The Rojiblancos have been keen observers of the Argentinean market in recent years and have set their sights on the latest pearl from the River academy.
Atlético Madrid have been turning their attention more and more towards the Argentinean league in search of prospects and have now taken a keen interest in River Plate’s 19-year-old midfielder Exequiel Palacios, who is already a full Argentina international and an undisputed starter at El Monumental under Marcelo Gallardo.
Diego Simeone snapped up 18-year-old central defender Nehuén Pérez during the summer from Argentinos Juniors and is now looking to add some more talent for the future in the shape of Palacios, who came through the ranks at River and broke into the first team last season. A winger who can also play in attacking midfield, Palacios is equally comfortable on both flanks but usually operates on the left in a position similar to that of an old-school inside left.
Atlético eager to beat the pack to Palacios
Palacios has a contract until 2021 and a release clause of 15 million euros. In the absence from the national side of several veterans, including Messi, Agüero, Higuaín, Di María for the last international break, Lionel Scaolini gave Palacios the nod and he put in mature performances against Guatemala and Colombia. It is expected he will be included in Scaloni’s next squad as well and he caught the eye in a recent high-pressure game at La Bombonera, giving Boca some serious problems at the back and pressing off the ball.
Atlético recently missed out on Racing striker Lautaro Martínez, who eventually signed for Inter, and are keen to avoid a similar situation with Palacios. River are keen to sign their young star up to another contract and raise his clause considerably but Simeone and the Atlético board may move quickly to prevent another bidding war as was the case with Martínez.