Azpilicueta and Semedo: Long-term Atletico Madrid targets that could now arrive

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Atletico Madrid have long been admirers of Cesar Azpilicueta and Nelson Semedo, and they are once again looking in their direction in this transfer window.

With the sale of Kieran Trippier to Newcastle United expected to be announced imminently, Los Colchoneros are looking for a replacement and the two long-time targets appear prominently on their list. Trippier‘s exit was set in motion last summer and so it hasn’t exactly come as a surprise, but Atleti will nonetheless have to act quickly to strengthen before the end of the window.

The English right-back switched his agent in the summer and was looking for a wage hike that wasn’t forthcoming. Trippier told Atletico that he wanted to return to England, and Manchester United made an enquiry but were unable to make a successful offer.

Azpilicueta the dream option

Drafting in Chelsea and Spain full-back Azpilicueta is the dream scenario for Diego Simeone, as he is at the top of his wish list. The Argentine coach believes that the Navarrese player would suit his style of play perfectly, while offering him tactical flexibility due to his ability to play full-back or centre-back.

Azpilicueta‘s versatility adds value as he would not only replace Trippier as a right-back but strengthen the backline more generally, which would be welcome given the injury problems that Atleti have had in that department this season. It would be no easy task to lure Chelsea‘s captain away mid-season, but the fact is that his contract expires in the summer and the Londoners have yet to offer him the two-year extension he wants, which could open a window for Atleti to swoop in.

Semedo could have been Juanfran’s heir

There would be a certain irony about Semedo arriving as Trippier‘s replacement, as Los Rojiblancos actually wanted him before they eventually signed the Englishman back in 2019. The club were looking for a reliable replacement for Juanfran Torres and came close to landing Semedo, but Barcelona ultimately decided not to sell.

It might be easier to sell Semedo on the move to the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano, but the deal would be a more costly one as Wolves would likely look to recoup the 32 million euros they paid for the Portugal international in 2020.

The possibility of no arrivals

The third major option, albeit the least agreeable one for Simeone, is that Atleti don’t sign a Trippier replacement in this window. The club are determined to land a quality replacement, but if they cannot find a suitable player they would prefer wait until the summer and see out the season with their current squad.

Simeone still has Marcos Llorente and Sime Vrsaljko who can play at right-back, so the club will not be buying for the sake of buying and will only enter the market for the right player. Simeone, though, believes Trippier needs replacing, so he will be hoping Atleti can strike lucky this January.

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