Atletico Madrid look set to continue their summer spending imminently, with the purchase of Milan striker Nikola Kalinic believed to be well into the advanced stages of negotiation. Atleti have been assembling a new spine to their team this summer, having already signed goalkeeper Antonio Adán from Real Betis (£900k), defensive midfielder Rodri from Villarreal (£18m) and impressive left winger Thomas Lemar from Monaco (£63m). In Kalinic they will be looking to add more competition to their forward line following the departure of Fernando Torres to Japanese J1 League side Sagan Tosu. Up front, however, Los Rojiblancos already have a wealth of talent available to them, and so it is worth asking whether Kalinic would be a necessary addition.
Alongside the likes of Diego Costa and of course World Cup winner Antoine Griezmann, the team have the option of players like Ángel Correa and Kevin Gameiro to choose from to feature in their front line should they be required out of midfield. Admittedly further competition for places is not often a bad thing, but with a reported €20m fee on the table it would appear there are intentions behind to deal to feature him more heavily in the first team as opposed to simply keeping his peers on their toes. That fee incorporates a €2.5m loan fee, with an obligation to buy set at €17.5m at the end of the season. That is quite an outlay for a player who has really struggled to settle and establish himself during his time at the San Siro with current employers Milan.
He joined the Serie A side initially on loan from Fiorentina, before the deal was made permanent at the end of the loan as per the initial agreement. The fact that Milan are prepared to sell him – and potentially take a €5m loss – so soon after the permanent deal was sealed will surely cause some to wonder whether Kalinic will be a worthy addition to the already-talented Atletico squad. He managed just six goals from 31 appearances at the club, but had managed 27 from 69 games during his tenure at the Stadio Artemio Franchi. At his club before Fiorentina, Dnipro Dnipropetrovsk, he struck 37 goals from 86 games – so he is clearly capable of finding the net in the right team. Before that, however, he was at Blackburn Rovers – and managed just seven goals from 44 games in two years at Ewood Park.
These stats may prove nothing, of course. Surrounded by the right team-mates at a club where he seems to enjoy his football, Kalinic can be a solid, reliable striker capable of offering a return of roughly a goal in every two games. That is a cracking strike rate to maintain, but the problem is he hasn’t really had the chance to maintain it at one club before moving on. Whether Atletico are getting themselves a bargain, or whether he will prove an expensive signing on the fringes, remains to be seen. The deal certainly represents a real gamble for Diego Costa’s team, however – but if they can get the most out of him he could find himself a popular addition among the Wanda Metropolitano faithful.
If you fancy yourself as a Euro Fantasy League manager, why not get involved and register your team? It is always fun, and gives you the opportunity to show your tactical nous (or psychic tendencies, if you prefer) against other like-minded fans around the world.
If you feel La Liga specifically is more your cup of tea, then head over to Fantasy Liga, where you can play a version of the game containing only players and teams from the Spanish game. That is always an alternative if you prefer a more specific style of fantasy football management.