Jan Oblak is locked in talks with Atletico Madrid regarding a new deal with the LaLiga title contenders, manager Simeone has confirmed
The Slovenia international has become one of the world’s top goalkeepers under Simeone’s tutelage. He was linked with Liverpool and Chelsea in the summer, and Simeone confirmed Los Rojiblancos are looking to get Oblak to commit his future to the club. “I know the club is working in order to make Jan stay,” Simeone told reporters on Friday. “We talked with him this week and he knows what he wants and needs. He knows that we need him too, he’s a key player in the present and in the future of the club’s potential growth.”
Simeone himself held talks over extending his seven-year stay at Atletico, where he has become one of its most successful coaches ever following a UEFA Super Cup triumph over city rivals Real Madrid at the start of the season. But the former Argentina international, who previously signalled an intention to coach former club Inter, rejected media speculation that talks with Atletico chief executive Miguel Angel Gil Marin are close to getting done.
“Yes, we’ve been talking about that with Miguel during the last lunch we shared, we touched on the subject slightly,” Simeone said. “There’s nothing yet, what the press said are lies, we haven’t talk about money or how many more years, nothing, all lies. But it’s true Miguel told me that at some point of this season we should meet to and negotiate to continue to work together. I feel great, I’m happy and have a stronger energy that what I had in my first day at the club, of course, I’m stubborn and I look for things we’re still missing.”
Atletico have not beaten Barcelona in 16 La Liga meetings, although Simeone’s side have won in this fixture in the Champions League during his time in charge. Diego Godin, Juanfran and Jose Gimenez may all miss out because of injury, but the manager wants to stay positive about his team’s chances of beating the league leaders, who are a point ahead in the table. “Well yes, we always struggle when facing Barcelona,” Simeone said.
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“I consider they have always been the best team in the world, regardless of the fact they haven’t been as good in Europe as in LaLiga these last years, but their statistics in Spain are crazy. We had hard times against them, we did better in the Champions League in qualifying rounds, in LaLiga we always struggle. Tomorrow we have another chance, we play against a great rival who are living a great moment, we have the energy and we are enthusiasts, the word ‘chance’ is beautiful when speaking of football.
“We work in order to minimize the chances of having injured players, every team does and all of them have injured players. But we are great, we only have three injured players, Juanfran had a pain yesterday in the calf muscle, so we only have three players that can’t play tomorrow.”
Simeone getting Oblak to commit and having talks over his own future are welcome signs for Atletico, but there is nothing the club and the manager himself would want than to finally beat Barca and to add rub salt on wounds, climb over the Catalans into top position on the table. All this ensures that the game will be a cracker, so grab your popcorn and keep yourself free come Saturday night.