Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone has claimed he is ‘not surprised’ goalkeeper Jan Oblak is being linked with a move away, with Chelsea particularly interested.
Kepa Arrizabalaga became the world’s most expensive goalkeeper when he made the switch to west London in the summer of 2018. However, he has since made a number of high-profile mistakes, leaving manager Frank Lampard unconvinced.
Lampard dropped Kepa from the starting lineup back in February following a number of costly errors made by the Spaniard, and while he is now the club’s first-choice again, the Blues have continued to be linked with a number of goalkeepers.
The keeper said to be top of Chelsea’s wishlist this summer is Atletico’s Oblak. The keeper’s contract runs until 2023 and contains a €120m (£109m) release clause, but the Blues value him below the £100m mark and hope to convince Los Rojiblancos to do business by offering Kepa in exchange.
While the Blues’ pursuit of Oblak is ambitious to say the least, Simeone has now responded to the links in intriguing fashion. The Argentine admitted that he is not surprised by the fact the Slovenia international is being linked with a move away, but he hopes he will stay put.
“It is normal that they want a goalkeeper of the characteristics and value that Oblak has and it doesn’t surprise me because he is very good. For us, he is decisive, very important in the dressing room, he is our captain,” Simeone explained at a press conference, as quoted by Cadena SER.
“Year after year he has managed to evolve in all the matches, from goalkeeper to his handling with the group, and hopefully he can continue with us.
“It is normal to always look for the best, and we have many who are very good, some previous seasons have left, others have stayed, and it is logical and normal for a footballer like Oblak to be loved by anyone. For us, he is our captain, an important player year after year and hopefully we can continue to count on his work, which is enormous for Atlético Madrid.”
While Simeone didn’t exactly rule out a move away for Oblak, it would still be very hard to envisage a scenario where Chelsea and Atletico are both satisfied with a deal that would see the 27-year-old move to Stamford Bridge – or anywhere else for that matter – especially during these financially challenging times for clubs.