Atletico Madrid have a rich tradition of producing world class strikers. Throughout the last decade, some great strikers have played for the club and the Rojiblancos have always managed to (thanks to their excellent scouting system and transfer strategy) replace one top striker with another.
When Fernando Torres left Atletico to join Liverpool, he was replaced by former Manchester United striker Diego Forlan. And the Uruguayan turned into a huge hit. The likes of Sergio Aguero, David Villa, Radamel Falcao, Diego Costa, Mario Mandzukic and Antoine Griezmann have all graced the green blades of Calderon in the past 10 years.
It is hardly a surprise that Diego Simeone is now looking to sign a top striker this summer. Torres is not getting any younger, Luciano Vietto has had a disappointing 2015/16 campaign and has been linked with a move to Barcelona, while Angel Correa and Griezmann both prefers to play more as a secondary striker. Simeone needs a top class #9.
Atletico have been linked with almost all the top strikers available in the market at some point this summer – Aubameyang, Higuain, Icardi, Costa, Morata, Bacca et al – the list is long. In the case of Aubameyang, Atletico backed off knowing they won’t be able to meet his wage demands. Higuain’s reported €94m price tag was a huge put-off and Napoli were reluctant to drop down their asking price. Simeone wanted to bring back Costa to his former club but it was always going to be difficult to prise him away from Chelsea.
The attention has been to shifted to Sevilla’s highly rated striker Kevin Gameiro. Sevilla are demanding a fee in the region of €40m for the French striker who is also wanted by FC Barcelona. The Catalan giants recently have shown an interest in him, however, the La Liga champions have made it clear they won’t pay anything over €25m, which is some way below Sevilla’s valuation for the player.
On the other hand, Atletico are ready to meet his asking price and the Rojibalncos are reportedly ready to make a formal move for the French striker.
Gameiro joined Sevilla in 2013 and has scored 67 goals in all competitions in three seasons for the Andalusia club. Last season was his best by far, scoring 29 goals across all competitions, including 16 in the league.
In theory, Gameiro fits the bill perfectly of what Simeone demands from a striker: he is young, fast, skilful, energetic, direct in approach, a good goalscorer and has the ability to shoot from distance with both feet. Most importantly, he is a player Simeone knows and won’t take much time to adapt to a new club.
Gameiro wasn’t picked up by Didier Deschamps for France’s Euro 2016 squad. He should have been in the team based on form and it’s really unfortunate that he was overlooked again. He made his national team debut in 2010 and till date has only eight appearances to his name. He produced a heroic performance in Europa League final against Liverpool where he played a major role in handing Sevilla their third consecutive Europa League title.
He would represent a very smart signing for Atletico should they manage to pull a deal for him but the question remains should Atletico pay €40m for the 29-year-old striker?