As the January transfer window opens, the main question at the Estadio Wanda Metropolitano is whether or not Kieran Trippier will still be an Atletico Madrid player come February.
Premier League side Newcastle United are very interested in singing the 31-year-old right-back, and his transfer from the Spanish capital to the north-east of England looks to be gathering pace.
According to MARCA, Newcastle have made an offer of 30 million euros for Trippier, which is below his 40 million euro release clause, while coach Diego Simeone has said that he will not stand in the way of the defender if he wants to leave.
Trippier’s last game for Atletico?
The England international played the full 90 minutes for Atleti on Sunday, January 2, as they beat cross-city rivals Rayo Vallecano 2-0 at the Wanda.
His importance to Simeone has never been in doubt, as was affirmed by the Argentinian coach, who expressed his desire for the defender to stay at the club.
Yet, as Trippier remained on the pitch after the match whilst his teammates headed for the changing room, he looked to be soaking in the atmosphere for one last time and saying his goodbyes to the fans.
End of the line
Whilst Atleti and Simeone may not want Trippier to leave, his contract ends at the end of next season and it makes sense for the side to cash in on him whilst they still can.
Five players are in the final few months of their contract now, too, so they can negotiate with a new club from January 3 onwards.
The players with expiring contracts are Luis Suarez, Sime Vrsaljko, Hector Herrera, Ivan Saponjic and Felipe Monteiro, with the latter having a contract extension offer until 2024 on the table.
Looking for a replacement
Sporting director Andrea Berta will be forced into the transfer market should Trippier decide to leave the club this January.
At present, the club has been linked with Chelsea‘s Cesar Azpilicueta and Wolves‘ Nelson Semedo.
Time will tell as to how Atleti approach the January transfer window, and Trippier will be at the lynchpin for any early movement.