Atletico Madrid could be set for a summer of mass change with defensive trio Juanfran, Filipe Luis and Diego Godin all entering the final six months of their respective contracts. The three experienced defenders are all out of contract at the Wanda Metropolitano in June and there is a serious possibility that all three will depart the club.
It could lead to a serious shortage of defenders at Los Rojiblancos, with Lucas Hernandez also linked with a summer switch to Bayern Munich, who have been reported as attempting to activate his €80m release clause. It could lead to a break-up of what is arguably European football’s best drilled back-line.
Outside of those four defenders only Jose Maria Gimenez and Stefan Savic are the long-standing senior defenders at the club, alongside Colombian full-back Santiago Arias, who arrived from PSV Eindhoven this summer. Indeed, a series of defensive injuries this season has seen recognized midfielders such as Thomas Partey and Saul Niguez full in temporarily in defensive positions.
Paris Saint-Germain approached Brazilian full-back Filipe Luis this summer and are thought to still hold an interest. The French champions are keen to meet UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations and a free transfer for the defender would fit their objectives.
Diego Godin, 32, is still regarded as one of the world’s elite central defenders and has long-standing interest from Juventus and Manchester United. Atleti CEO Miguel Angel Gil Marin reportedly has proposed a marked salary increase but this has not yet been accepted by the club as it is not in-line with their policy for players aged 30 or over. There have been reports in both Italy and Spain that Inter already have a pre-agreed deal for the Uruguayan.
Meanwhile, 33-year-old Juanfran, who has been a first-team mainstay at Atleti since January 2011, may also be on his way out. Each of three defenders have played in excess of 300 matches for the club while Lucas has been a regular in the backline since the 2016/17 season and was instrumental in France’s World Cup triumph this year.
Previous Atleti club captain Gabi Fernandez left the club this summer while the future of Diego Costa is also said to be in doubt. Diego Simeone’s squad is low in numbers but extremely close-knit and such a high turnover is potential cause for alarm in the Spanish capital. It has been an unprecedented era of success for Los Rojiblancos, but there should be real concerns that this year could prove a turning point when a new era could be signalled.
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