Over the past few years, Jan Oblak has set the bar so high for himself that he fell prey to his own greatness this season.
The Slovenian established himself as one of the best shot-stoppers in the world with his remarkable consistency but has not enjoyed the same form this year.
In 37 league starts, Oblak has kept only 12 clean sheets and averages more than one goal conceded every ninety minutes. Moreover, he records less than two saves per game and has saved only one of eight penalties faced this season.
Though there is little reason to panic over Oblak’s slight dip in form, the club require an able backup option to cover for the 29-year-old. One of the options is Ivo Grbic, though he is not the management’s first choice.
The Croatian arrived at Wanda Metropolitano in August 2020 from Lokomotiv Moscow and spent a year under Diego Simeone. However, he made only one appearance and decided to leave the club in search of more minutes.
In 2021, he left Simeone’s side to join Lille in Ligue 1 on a loan deal. His contract with the French side included a €8 million purchase clause that was not mandatory.
According to reports from Ruben Uria of Goal, Lille have opted against using their purchase option on the goalkeeper. Unless an offer arrives, Grbic will return to Atletico Madrid at the end of the season and will participate in preseason as a substitute for Jan Oblak.
The 26-year-old has started 21 league games for Lille this season and has maintained just two clean sheets. He concedes 1.3 goals per game on average but has made close to three saves per game during the same duration.
Grbic could be a valuable option to the manager next season, especially given the situation of Oblak. However, it remains to be seen if the Croat accepts a subsidiary role.
Atletico Madrid have made enquiries for 26-year-old Premier League defender
According to Diario AS, Atletico Madrid are among the clubs interested in the services of Caglar Soyuncu. It appears the Rojiblancos are determined to reinforce their options in the defensive unit, with the Leicester City star emerging as one of the options.
The report suggests Atletico have asked about Soyuncu’s environment over a potential move to the Civitas Metropolitano in the near future. The club’s sporting director Andrea Berta had met Mustaga Bogru, who was the former representative of the player.
Although Soyuncu’s environment has claimed that the two parties are closing in on a final agreement, Atletico have denied the reports. But they are actively trying to sign the defender in January or at the end of the season, when he will be a free agent.
Diego Simeone’s interest in signing a new defender stems from the uncertainty looming around the future of some of his central defenders, including Mario Hermoso and Felipe. Hence, Soyuncu has become a viable option to partner Stefan Savic at the Metropolitano.
The club from the capital are tilting towards the same operation they had for Reinildo, which is to sign the player on a cut-price fee in the winter window.
Following Atleti’s elimination from the UEFA Champions League, though, Los Colchoneros do not have much capital to splurge in the upcoming January transfer window. As such, they are favouring a move at the end of the season when Caglar Soyuncu would become a free agent.
Formerly of VfB Stuttgart, Soyuncu has featured in 125 competitive matches for Leicester City since joining the club in the summer of 2018. Atletico Madrid were one of the clubs who were interested in the defender, shortly before his move to King Power Stadium.
Although Simeone’s side were unable to sign the defender, they are in contention to snap up the Turkish international in the coming year, especially with the player himself more than keen on taking the next step in his career.