Reports of Atletico Madrid’s interest in Barcelona forward Memphis Depay sprang up yesterday, with the Rojiblancos viewing the Dutchman as a possible replacement for exit-bound Joao Felix.
Los Rojiblancos have already established initial contact with Barça about a move and further talks are expected to take place this week as they look to close the deal for the Netherlands international.
While it has been reported that Atletico would ideally seek a loan move for Depay, Barcelona are unlikely to consider that option as the forward’s contract expires at the end of the season.
Instead, they would seek financial compensation to let Depay go this month. And, according to journalist Jose Alvarez, the Catalan giants are holding out for a fee of €10 million to let the former Manchester United ace join Atletico Madrid.
Depay has fallen out of favour at Barça under Xavi Hernandez. The 28-year-old has played just four times this season across all competitions. With his contract running down in the summer, an exit as a free agent seemed certain.
But with Atletico Madrid now probing, there could be a possibility that the Dutch ace leaves before the end of this month itself.
Manager Xavi Hernandez, though, has been insistent that he does not want to lose any players ahead of a tough schedule in the coming months.
Furthermore, the suspensions of Robert Lewandowski and Ferran Torres for the next couple of La Liga matches also complicate matters for Barça, with reports suggesting that they will not sanction Depay’s exit until late January, if indeed they decide to sell him.
Add to that, the €10 million demands, if true, could compel Atletico Madrid to look elsewhere. Either way, the player’s say could have a major implication on whether the move transpires or not.
Depay, for his part, is believed to be keen on leaving Barcelona as a free agent in the summer. But whether he snubs a chance to join a club of Atletico Madrid’s calibre this month remains to be seen.