Atletico Madrid announced their first signing of the transfer window on Wednesday in the form of Axel Witsel. The Belgian international signed a short-term deal with Los Rojiblancos that will see him at the club for just one season.
After his move was made official, the midfielder talked to the club about his decision and the factors that pushed him to make the move to Spain.
Witsel first justified his decision to join Atletico Madrid by saying that he considered the club one of the best in the world.
“For me, Atlético is one of the 8 best clubs in Europe, and I wanted to continue playing at a high level after Dortmund, that’s why I decided to come here.”
However, he also added that his international teammate Yannick Carrasco had a big role to play in his decision to join Simeone’s side:
“Carrasco pushed me to come. He told me that I have to come, it’s a top club, with a beautiful city. He told me about it in the selection, with Belgium. But in truth, I didn’t need Yannick to make this decision.”
The Belgian will provide Simeone with some much-needed reinforcement in midfield after the departure of Hector Herrera. With Koke, Geoffrey Kondogbia, Rodrigo de Paul, and Saul Niguez being the only midfield options for next season, a new defensive midfielder was the need of the hour.
Though the Verdiblancos tried hard to sign Boubacar Kamara, the youngster seems set to join Aston Villa. Witsel now arrives as a temporary fix to the crisis until the club can sign another young midfielder in the coming windows.
Tottenham Hotspur hold an interest in key Atletico Madrid duo
According to MARCA, Tottenham Hotspur have shown an interest in signing key Atletico Madrid stars Yannick Carrasco and Jan Oblak and could look to make a move for the duo in the summer.
Tottenham and Atletico have fostered a good working relationship in recent times, with the Rojiblancos signing Sergio Reguilon on loan from the Premier League club in the summer.
Following that, the Colchoneros secured the signing of Matt Doherty in January on a free transfer after Tottenham handed him a letter of freedom so that he can join the La Liga club.
Now, it is being claimed that Tottenham could look to capitalise on it and act on their interest in both Carrasco and Oblak.
Carrasco has been a topic of interest at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium for some time now. The Lilywhites have even made attempts to sign him in the past but were unable to pull off the transfer.
However, with the 29-year-old reportedly disgruntled at Atletico, a summer exit could be on the cards. Barcelona have secured an option to sign the winger for a fee of €20 million in the summer, but Tottenham could offer more if they are serious about signing him.
Meanwhile, Oblak has also been on the radars of Tottenham for some time. With captain and first-choice goalkeeper Hugo Lloris nearing the end of his career, the north London club have identified the Slovenian ace as a possible replacement for the Frenchman.
Oblak has been a permanent fixture in the lineup at Atletico Madrid for close to a decade now. But he harbours hopes of playing in the Premier League while he also wishes to challenge for trophies – something that has not happened at Atletico this term or the last season.
It could compel him to consider a move away from the Civitas Metropolitano, and Tottenham would be lying in wait if such a scenario materialises.