Diego Simeone denies making bid to bring Fernando Torres to Atletico
Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone says he did not make a personal bid in recent days to try and persuade his former teammate Fernando Torres to return to the Estadio Vicente Calderon from Chelsea.
Torres is reportedly close to finally leaving Stamford Bridge after two and a half frustrating seasons, with Italian side AC Milan thought to be his most likely destination.
Reports in Spain all summer have suggested that Simeone wanted to bring 'El Nino' back to the club where he made his name, with recent claims saying the idea foundered as the heavily indebted La Liga club could not meet the Madrid-born player's wage demands.
The Colchoneros coach told his pre-game news conference that the reports were not true as he was not so personally involved in transfer activity.
"I do not speak with the players," Simeone said. "Normally that is the sporting directors. I speak with them about what we need, bearing in mind what the club can do financially. I hope it all gets resolved in the best way possible."
Atletico started their defence of the La Liga crown with a disappointing 0-0 draw at neighbours Rayo Vallecano last Monday, when new attacking signings Mario Mandzukic, Antoine Griezmann and Raul Jimenez all struggled to make an impact.
All three could start again in Saturday's Primera Division clash with newly promoted Eibar at the Estadio Vicente Calderon, a game Simeone will watch the game from the stands due to the ban imposed for his slap of the fourth official during the recent Spanish Supercopa win over Real Madrid.
Simeone did however have better news at the news conference for Atletico fans as he revealed that Turkish playmaker Arda Turan was close to a return from a tricky hamstring problem.
"Arda is very important for us," Simeone said. "For sure he will be in the match squad, and maybe we can count on him in the second half."
Simeone also said Raul Garcia's first senior Spanish call-up for the upcoming friendly against France and Euro 2016 qualifier against Macedonia was due reward for the hard work the 28 year old midfielder has put in to improve his game through recent seasons.
"[Raul Garcia] has always worked very hard," Simeone said. "He has deserved this."