Six players Atletico Madrid are looking to sell this summer

Paul Macdonald
Six players Atletico Madrid are looking to sell this summer

Atletico Madrid may be about to win a second La Liga title in seven years this season, but Diego Simeone is reportedly planning a cull of his squad.

The Argentine, who is approaching a decade in charge of Los Rojiblancos, has not always been sure of his own future, but according to Mundo Deportivo, the club are looking to offload six players in order to rebuild the squad, regardless of whether their title pursuit is successful or not.

Here, we are looking at those seven players and the potential reasons behind their prospective departures.

Read more: Should Arsenal cut their losses and sell Lacazette to Roma, Sevilla or Atletico?

Saul

The first name is not one many would have expected to read. The midfielder has been a vitally important member of the Atleti squad in the latter part of Simeone’s reign, helping them to the 2016 Champions League final and Europa League success two years later.

Still only 26, Saul, who has previously been a target for Manchester United, would command a hefty fee. Given the financial issues football is facing as a collective due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the money generated by his sale could be vital to Atleti. But, as somebody who can control the tempo of a game and also score a goal or two from midfield, he would certainly be a miss.

Moussa Dembele

Moussa Dembele’s impact since a January loan from Lyon, which Atleti have the option to make permanent this summer, has been minimal. COVID has not helped —he is still recovering now — but the former Celtic man simply hasn’t played enough. He is yet to score in La Liga, having made just two appearances.

Luis Suarez, Atleti’s top scorer, Joao Felix, Marcos Llorente and Angel Correa are all ahead of Dembele in the pecking order at the Wanda Metropolitano. Simeone could look to add another striker, too, and he won’t want to be paying the fee to make Dembele’s move from Lyon permanent considering his lack of form.

Vitolo

According to the report from Mundo Deportivo, Vitolo has been on the transfer list for a long time. It is easy to see why; his late cameo in the draw at Real Betis on Sunday was ineffectual, and he cannot get past the likes of Saul and Koke, who remain Simeone’s favoured midfield options.

He has made just eight appearances in the league all season, and at 31, will only decline in quality. His experience will undoubtedly come in handy somewhere, but it seems certain that he’ll be looking for pastures new come the summer.

Sime Vrsaljko

Much like Vitolo, the Croatian full back has been on the periphery for a while now and isn’t getting any younger. He is behind Kieran Trippier in the pecking order, and although he came on to replace the England man after he suffered a back problem at the weekend, and could get a subsequent run in the side if Trippier is out for a while, it won’t last.

The 29-year-old has made a combined 14 league appearances in the past two seasons, and has already spent time out on loan, at Inter two years ago. It feels like a natural conclusion for him to leave.

Jose Gimenez

Another big surprise is the suggestion that Uruguayan defender Jose Gimenez could leave. He has been an immense presence at the back for Atleti, first learning from his mentor and fellow countryman Diego Godin and then stepping up to become a leader at the back. He is dogged, clever and no-nonsense, everything Simeone likes.

But there would be a huge number of clubs interested in him if he were to become available this summer. Manchester City have previously been linked, but with just over two years to run on his contract, now might be a good time to cash in.

Lucas Torreira

Gimenez’s international teammate is another loanee who hasn’t been able to fully impress. Brought in from Arsenal as part of the Thomas Partey deal last summer, the Uruguayan has made just 15 league appearances.

Given that Simeone and Atleti will need to be cautious and prudent with their money, they are unlikely to try and keep Torreira.