Atlético Madrid have been in the market for a striker for some time amid links with Edinson Cavani, Alexandre Lacazette and Arkadiusz Milik but Diego Simeone could be about to pull off the same trick as in 2013-14 by snapping up a surplus to requirements Barcelona forward to bolster his attacking line by making a move for Luis Suárez.
The 33-year-old Uruguay international has been informed he is no longer wanted at Camp Nou as Ronald Koeman begins his squad overhaul – one that looks set to include the departure of Suárez’s close friend Leo Messi – and Atlético fancy they could tempt the prolific Barcelona striker to the Metropolitano, possibly for a single season before he makes the inevitable move to MLS.
Villa right at home at the Calderón
The ploy certainly paid dividends in 2013-14 when Atlético paid a little over €5 million to bring David Villa to the Calderón – and subsequently won LaLiga ahead of Real Madrid and Barça, sealing the title in Camp Nou on the final day of the season.Given Suárez’s current opinion of Barcelona’s board and incoming Dutch coach, it must at least be a tempting prospect for the Uruguayan. Atlético have a long association with his home country through the likes of Diego Godín, Diego Forlán – who could doubtless attest for the reinvigorating atmosphere of the club – Cebolla Rodríguez and Suárez’s current international teammate José María Giménez.
Atlético are likely to face competition for Suárez from across Europe. Marc Overmars recently said he suspected Ajax would not be able to lure their former protegee back to Amsterdam but several other clubs will surely be watching with interest, among them Juventus who are looking for a replacement for the outgoing Gonzalo Higuaín.
Atlético hoping for a Suárez free
The main question is whether Suárez will be given carte blanche to leave on a freeand to choose his destination or if Barcelona will hold out for a fee for a player who is under contract until next summer.
Atlético have little in terms of financial incentives to lure Suárez, who would have to take a pay cut, but the prospect of potentially teaming up with Diego Costa in a side set up in a style that may suit the Uruguayan under a manager with Simeone’s reputation may be enough to tip the balance in Atlético’s favour.