Atlético Madrid are ready to enter the transfer market as they are on the hunt for a new central defender. Unfortunately for FC Barcelona, this could mean that their La Liga rivals could potentially hijack one of the deals that they are cooking this winter.
Over the past week, news came out that Xavi Hernandez is eyeing Chelsea captain Cesar Azpilicueta to be one of his major signings. The new Barcelona manager has been taking steps to rebuild the squad with a mix of young players and seasoned veterans, and Azpilicueta is expected to provide much-needed guidance to the Blaugrana's crop of youngsters.
However, Diego Simeone is set to lose Kieran Trippier, who is believed to be set to accept an offer from Newcastle United. Atlético Madrid have identified Azpilicueta as the man they need to reinforce their defence, and with the Spaniard out of contract with Chelsea this summer, he is an attractive prospect.
This means that while Barcelona may have made their intentions known ahead of their La Liga rivals, they may still lose out on the player especially owing to the fact that they are not in a position to outbid Atletico. They are currently not even able to register Ferran Torres due to salary cap restrictions, and their quest to sign more players will be dependent on the exits that will push through in the coming weeks.
Trippier may leave the Wanda Metropolitano sooner rather than later, which means Simeone will want to act fast. The manager confirmed in a press conference quoted by AS that the club may not be able to stop Trippier's departure. "He's an extraordinary player and he has given us so much. What happens is down to him. We want him to stay and that is what we are hoping to achieve but you can never hold anyone back in life," he said.
Atletico will likely step up their pursuit of Azpilicueta and it remains to be seen if Barcelona can put up a fight.