Atletico Madrid star was suggested as bargaining chip for Marco Verratti – Football Espana

Atletico Madrid have by most people’s reckoning enjoyed a solid transfer market, strengthening their backline and bringing back talented loanees Samuel Lino and Rodrigo Riquelme. Joao Felix has also left on loan, and Yannick Carrasco has departed for Al Shabab – the only clear frustration for Diego Simeone is that they did not get the deeper midfielder they wanted.
One of the targets they looked at was Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Marco Verratti. The Italian was heavily linked with a move to the Middle East, but so far remains in Paris.
According to Marca, while Los Colchoneros were working out the numbers, before Felix’s exit, they had looked at potential sales for Saul Niguez, Thomas Lemar and perhaps more surprising, Marcos Llorente.
The Spanish international was a key part of their title-winning season, but has been hampered by fitness issues since, and reportedly Llorente was considered as a potential bargaining chip for Verratti. Luis Enrique regularly used Llorente while he was Spain manager, and is a fan of the former Real Madrid academy graduate.
As it happened, Atletico have held onto Llorente, who is likely to be an important piece for Simeone this season. Scoring twice in their opening three games, Llorente is trying to get back to his best form, and thereafter regain his place in the Spain squad.
Llorente’s capacity to burst beyond the forward line was a vital part of the last strong Atletico side, but with Rodrigo de Paul and Koke Resurreccion settled in midfield, there is strong competition for the third spot. Lemar, Saul and Llorente are all in the fold, while youngster Pablo Barrios has been impressive in the absence of Koke.
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