It’s quite clear that things can’t carry on this way at Manchester United, going by their poor league form. So who can the team bring to improve things? Atletico Madrid have been an excellent stage for Koke over the last three years to show his immense talents, and it won’t be surprising to see the Red Devils make a move for him, possibly even in January.
The 21 year old attacking midfield has helped Atletico to a third place finish and the Copa Del Rey last season, and also played a part two years ago as they lifted the Europa League trophy. This season he’s more dominant than before, usually playing behind Diego Costa, sometimes to his right, scoring 3 goals and adding 10 assists in all competitions, making it to the national team, where he’s already been capped five times so far.
It’s been revealed that his release clause is only €24 million, which is far cheaper than Ander Herrera’s, who United tried to sign during the summer but were unable to get Bilbao to accept a more expensive bid. Koke, though cheaper, is also probably the better player than the Basque midfielder.
David Moyes was spotted at the Vicente Calderon while Atletico were beating FC Porto in the Champions League. This wasn’t a trip to scout rivals, but probably, going by logic, an attempt to get a better look at a player Manchester United are interested in. Most of United’s problems are in the midfield, but adding a player of Koke’s quality to play in a central or wide position can certainly help them.
It might also mean that Shinji Kagawa doesn’t have a very long time to stay. He plays in a similar position, but has also been finding himself in and out of the lineup, depending on the availability of Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie. Atletico to sell him? With the championship in Spain looking like a very achievable goal, it’s hard to see Diego Simeone not giving his best effort to keep the Spaniard on at least until the summer. Later? If the release clause is true, it’s going to be hard to fight it.
However, signing him in January will make him ineligible for Champions League matches at Manchester United. This will also be a test to see just how much Moyes can appeal to players from outside the Premier League, and if the Manchester United name and brand has taken a hit since he’s come on.