Atletico Madrid
Diego Simeone and Atletico will have to revaluate their plans this summer Getty

Atletico Madrid's transfer ban will remain in place this summer, rocking the club's plans to build a squad capable of challenging neighbours Real Madrid for their La Liga crown next season.

Los Colchoneros insist their plan now is to go ahead and sign players in the coming months and register them when the ban ends in January. Barcelona opted to do the same when they were hit with an identical sanction in 2015, signing Aleix Vidal and Arda Turan even though it meant the duo were not able play a single minute of football for the first half of the season.

Atletico will try to convince their targets to do the same, but they might not find it as easy as Barcelona did.

IBTimes UK considers which incoming deals could now be in doubt...


The Spain international has a release clause of €40m (£34.8m, $44.9m) and after another splendid season with Sevilla, there is no shortage of clubs interested. Manchester City had been credited with an interest, but their recent signing of Bernardo Silva may have brought an end to that.

The other interested parties? Barcelona and Atletico. Sport reported last week that Diego Simeone's side already have an agreement in principle to sign the player with the Argentine coach desperate to officially sign off on the deal even if it means he does not play for his new club until January. Will Vitolo be ready to wait that long?


According to Marca, the Monaco midfielder has been identified as a long-term replacement for Gabi in the Atletico engine room. The 23-year-old is coming off a marvellous campaign with Monaco marked by their Ligue 1 success and is expected to follow in the footsteps of Silva in leaving Leonardo Jardim's side this summer.

Unfortunately for Atletico, they are not the only club interested. Manchester United, Manchester City and Juventus are also keen on the Brazilian. Given what those sides can offer him, it seems unlikely Fabinho, who will have designs on forcing his way into the Brazil squad ahead of the 2018 World Cup, will be ready to spend half a season on the sidelines. Atletico may have to look elsewhere.

Brazilian defender Fabinho has also been linked with a move to Manchester United Getty Images

Sandro Ramirez

After netting 16 goals in 30 appearances for Malaga last season, Sandro is a wanted man in both Spain and England. The La Masia youth product has a release clause of just €6m written into his contract at La Rosaleda with another move all but certain this summer. Everton and Tottenham Hotspur are interested but it appeared that Atletico took control of the situation last month when local publication Estadio Deportivo reported Sandro was ready to snub the Premier League for Los Rijiblancos – on the provision that their transfer ban was lifted.

With that not happening, the ball is now back in Everton's court, according to the Independent. The club's director of football Steve Walsh is confident the former Barcelona starlet has the right tools to complete the transition to the Premier League and with a deal already made in principle, Atletico appear to have lost out.

Alexandre Lacazette

Seemingly having been forced to admit defeat in their long-running pursuit of a prolific striker for whom they saw a bid very publicly rejected last year, the prospect of a potential deal for Lacazette is presumably now back on the table as far as Arsenal and other high-profile suitors - potentially including Liverpool - are concerned.

Although nothing had been officially signed, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas revealed earlier this month that the French international, scorer of no fewer than 36 goals across all competitions last term, had reached a verbal agreement with Atletico. However, such a move was predicated on Cas lifting that recruitment ban.

"I'm at a crossroads," admits Lacazette, who says he is not sure if he can leave the club where he rose through the youth ranks before making his first-team debut in 2010 and going onto establish himself as one of European football's most feared and prolific marksman.

Alexandre Lacazette
Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette is expected to leave France this summer PHILIPPE DESMAZES/AFP/Getty Images

Diego Costa

A summer move to Chinese Super League (CSL) outfit Tianjin Quanjian was though to be essentially a foregone conclusion for the fiery Spaniard amid reports of a pre-contract agreement that followed high-profile interest during the January transfer window.

Tianjin insist they have had no contact with Costa's camp during the last six months, however, and the player himself, who has certainly never been one to hide his affection for Atletico and openly admits that he tried to engineer a return last summer, recently claimed that Los Colchoneros were the only club that could tempt him away from Premier League champions.

In the absence of any other clear interest from other European parties, Costa, hoping to secure his place in Spain's World Cup squad for 2018, will presumably now opt to remain at Stamford Bridge unless he performs a dramatic U-turn on that China stance. How will that impact upon Chelsea's interest in Everton striker Romelu Lukaku and Real Madrid's Alvaro Morata?

In the words of the inimitable Diana Ross, we're in the middle of a chain reaction.