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Atlético de Madrid Update

By European Football
June 23 2005

‘Los Colchoneros’ are going through a deep squad reconstruction. The directives are trying to please new coach Carlos Bianchi and are struggling to get him a team capable of achieving big things. Wanted players: Saviola, Galletti, Petrov, Kezman, Kuijt, Maxi Rodríguez, etc. Atlético is interested in a lot of players but still couldn’t sign anyone. The first disappointment came when Riquelme decided to stay in Villarreal. Many negotiations are being held, but the only confirmed deal is the exit on loan of Uruguayan Richard Nuñez to Mexican side Cruz Azul.

Luciano Galletti seems to be ready to go to Madrid. The 24-year-old Argentine forward got tired of waiting for a renewal offer from Zaragoza and has decided to join Atlético. Now it is time for the teams to negotiate, Zaragoza is asking for 4 million euros.

VfL Wolfsburg rejected yesterday a 6 million euro bid from Atlético for Bulgarian winger Martin Petrov. The player is very keen on leaving, and hopes the Spanish side continues with negotiations. The German team is asking for 10 million, which is a very high number, unlikely to be paid by Atlético.

Javier Saviola was another player Atlético wanted to sign, but his situation with his current team Barcelona has forced the Madrid team to set their eyes on other players. Saviola wants to remain in Barca, but neither the coach or the president feel the same way. In order to prevent the ‘Saviola situation’ from becoming another ‘Riquelme affair’, Atlético started negotiations over Mateja Kezman and Dirk Kuijt.

‘Los Colchoneros’ now are trying to sing one of those two players within 48 hours. Feyenoord asks for 15 million euros for Dirk Kuijt, while Mateja Kezman is worth 9 million for Chelsea. If negotiations over Kuijt do not end up in agreement, Kezman would be bought, since he is cheaper and both the player and his team are looking forward to a transfer.

However, the first transfer would not be one of these strikers. Sporting Director Toni Muñoz is currently in the Netherlands watching the U-20 World Cup, and this way he has spotted a Colombian forward, 20-year-old Wason Rentería, who will now travel to Spain together with his team’s directives to negotiate the transfer. Carlos Bianchi has expressed his agreement, and also showed interest in Fernando Gago, also playing in the World Cup for Argentina.

Other requests by Bianchi are the signings of two more Argentinians. Maxi Rodríguez, who is currently in Germany playing in the Confederations Cup, is having difficulties in reaching an agreement with his team Espanyol over the extension of his contract. The other one could be either Diego Placente or Clemente Rodríguez, both left backs. Placente is keen on leaving Bayer Leverkusen and is pretended by many teams, and Clemente Rodríguez plays for Spartak Moscow, who would not easily let him go, but Bianchi already had him in Boca and is his favourite player to take the left back position.

Finally, Fernando Torres has caught the attention of important teams like Barca and Chelsea, but Atlético is willing to hold on to him, even though Chelsea offered to trade him for Juan Sebastián Verón. The Argentine is liked by the Spaniards since he would replace Riquelme, so they are trying to get him without losing Torres.

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