Ahead of his side’s LaLiga season opener on Sunday, Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone confessed new signing Kevin Gamiero was not his primary target in the transfer market.
Gameiro completed his move to the Vicente Calderon in July, after three years with Europa League champions Sevilla.
Following Carlos Bacca’s departure, last term was Gameiro’s best as he became the focal point of Sevilla’s attack, scoring 29 goals in all competitions and narrowly missing out on a spot in France’s Euro 2016 squad, but Simeone admitted Chelsea striker Diego Costa was his first choice.
“The club worked on the possibility of Diego Costa’s arrival and after that did not advance, we were always very clear with Gameiro. Always,” Simeone said on the Espacio Reservado program.
“When I spoke on the phone with him, I told him we wanted to bring Costa and he was the alternative. I bet entirely on him and he wanted to be the forward to join us this year.”
Along with Nicolas Gaitan and Sime Vrsaljko’s arrivals, Gameiro’s reported €28million signing represents a handy transfer window for Atletico, who have signed well on tactical compatibility to Simeone’s style.
Irrespective of his initial preference, in the lead-up to Atletico beginning their LaLiga title assault at home to Deportivo Alaves, Simeone is excited with what Gameiro brings to his side.
“Kevin is an explosive player, and a player we need in the final third because he plays forward, especially in tight spaces and reads his team-mates’ movements well,” he said.
“He’s different. Fernando [Torres] is a player for longer spaces, while Gameiro is the opposite. The competition between them will give us possibilities and what better for a team to contain variety.
“This year I can imagine a situation of better growth than I had last year…Griezmann has talent but with him [Gameiro], Correa and Fernando I think we are very good offensively.”