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Atletico Madrid goalkeeper set to return to the club following Lille loan



Photo by GLYN KIRK/AFP via Getty Images

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.

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Atletico Madrid News

Atletico Madrid midfielder wanted by three La Liga clubs, salary an issue



Photo by ANDER GILLENEA/AFP via Getty Images

There is no doubt that Atletico Madrid are bracing themselves for a busy summer ahead as they look to address the future of some of their star players. One of them is Saul Niguez, who has fallen out of favour under Diego Simeone and could leave the club.

A recent report from Mundo Deportivo has offered an update on the future of the Spaniard, suggesting that the player has once again become a market attraction.

The versatile star was on loan at Chelsea last season, but his spell at Stamford Bridge was far from ideal, as he featured in less than 500 minutes of league football. He returned to Atletico Madrid in the summer, and even though he wanted to leave the club, a move did not materialise.

Saul was even linked with a move away from Atleti in January. But Valencia, who were interested in him at the time, could not afford the deal, particularly because of the player’s salary and transfer fees.

The report from Mundo Deportivo states that Valencia have retained their interest in the player. But in addition to Los Che, Saul has been targeted by two other Spanish teams in the form of Rayo Vallecano and Sevilla.

Rayo have expressed the desire to sign Saul in the coming season. But they are likely to face economic difficulties in funding a move for the midfielder. The same can be said for Sevilla.

Saul’s current contract at Atletico Madrid expires in 2026, a deal that was agreed when the player was at his peak. But the long contract has now come back to haunt Atleti, as they desperately look to get rid of the Spanish international.

With his suitors likely to face financial trouble in weighing up a move, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for Saul in the coming summer.

Saul is not the only Atletico Madrid player facing an uncertain future, with Axel Witsel’s father also hinting at a possible exit recently.

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