Atletico Madrid are a step closer to securing the signing of Spain winger Vitolo despite being banned from acquiring players during the summer transfer window. The club from the Spanish capital will provide the 27-year-old, who has also been linked with Chelsea, the money required to activate his €40m release clause at Sevilla before he joins Las Palmas on loan for the first half of the 2017-18 season.
Vitolo will then move to Atletico on a free in January 2018 once they have served their Fifa ban. The club are be unable to register any new players during the current window after the Court of Arbitration for Sport (Cas) upheld a charge relating to the pursuit of young players.
The 2014 La Liga champions are permitted to sign players and then register them in six months time just like Barcelona did that with Arda Turan and Aleix Vidal. two years ago. Varying reports have claimed that Atletico want to replicate that formula to get both Vitolo and Chelsea striker Diego Costa.
Last week The Mirror reported that the Champions League runners-up in 2014 and 2016 could have competition from Chelsea to sign the versatile midfielder with Antonio Conte also considering making a move to lure him to Stamford Bridge.
Marca later supported those claims, suggesting that Chelsea could sweeten the deal by including Michy Batshuayi or Kurt Zouma as part of the transfer. However, it looks that Atletico will finally win the race after having found a way around their transfer ban imposed by Fifa.
Vitolo will match his own €40m release clause at Sevilla – with money provided by Atletico – to make himself a free agent and then moving to Las Palmas for the first part of the new season. Then, in January, Atletico will buy him from the Canary Island side as a free-agent.
Las Palmas sporting director Toni Cruz has now suggested that the deal is close during a press conference held on Tuesday to unveil Manolo Marquez as their new manager.
"The President has come to an agreement so that if Vitolo does join Atletico de Madrid, he will join UD Las Palmas until January," Cruz said.
Meanwhile, the Las Palmas chief also confirmed that Roque Mesa will join Swansea ahead of the new season, with the clubs just waiting for the medical to make the agreement official. "There is an agreement for the transfer of Roque Mesa to Swansea City and it could be confirmed tomorrow or on Thursday," Cruz added.