Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone has specified the characteristics that the club are looking for in a striker, amid speculation that Sevilla’s Alvaro Negredo has been identified as Radamel Falcao’s replacement at the Estadio Vicente Calderon.
Atletico have been linked with a number of forwards, including Liverpool’s Luis Suarez, Porto’s Jackson Martinez, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and Galatasaray’s Burak Yilmaz, as they look to fill the gap left by the Colombia international’s big-money move to Monaco.
Negredo now appears to be their preferred option, and Andalucian paper Estadio Deportivo claimed on Monday that the two La Liga clubs were involved in a ‘poker game’, with Atletico president Enrique Cerezo having offered €18 million and Sevilla chief Jose Maria del Nido holding out for €25 million.
Del Nido reportedly knows that firm interest from Napoli coach Rafael Benitez, as well as past enquiries from Premier League sides Tottenham, Everton and West Ham, could be his trump cards in the negotiations.
But Atletico could be about to step up their interest after Simeone told Mundo Deportivo that he is looking for a profile of player that looks not too unlike Negredo.
“For the way we play, we need a type of forward who is more of a finisher,” the Argentine coach said. “A penalty-box player. What we will miss of Radamel, apart from this personality and his character, will be his goals. It is very difficult to be sure of scoring the amount of goals he got in the 18 months I was with him. But we can add other things that Radamel did not have.”
Estadio Deportivo say that even if Atletico eventually look elsewhere, Spain international Negredo will leave the Estadio Sanchez Pizjuan this summer, as the €100 million in-debt club need to raise more funds, even after the €20 million-plus sale of Jesus Navas to Manchester City, which is expected to be completed this week.
Zaragoza centre-forward Helder Postiga has already been lined up to replace Negredo, the paper claims, with the Portugal international sure to move on with his current side having been relegated from La Liga.
Speaking with reporters after scoring his country’s winner in their 1-0 World Cup 2014 qualifying win over Russia in Lisbon on Sunday, the former Tottenham player brushed aside all enquiries about this future.
“There is a lot of speculation around this time,” Postiga said. “But I am just thinking about the national team and [Monday evening’s friendly] game against Croatia.”