Atletico Madrid are taking La Liga by storm this year, level on points with Barcelona and playing with the confidence and swagger of genuine title contenders it isn’t surprising that a host of top clubs are courting their star names.
Koke has been at the centre of everything good at Atletico, the industrious young starlet has bags of technical ability and the craft and industry to make things happen at any level. David Moyes was a high profile visitor to the Vicente Calderon on Wednesday night and Manchester United find themselves amongst a number of other top Premier League sides tracking the 21 year olds progress.
The Spaniard only recently signed a long-term deal, but there are strong suggestions emerging that a €30m buyout clause exists within his contract. The existence of such a clause will put a number of clubs on high alert and it is likely come January that many will see that as the time to make a move.
That said there seems little logic in moving away from a side with as much potential as Atletico’s. Through to the Champions League knockouts and riding high in the league, are there any clubs that can offer any more than that? Regardless of the Atletico’s position the Premier League still provides a significant draw for a foreign born footballer and a potential move to England shouldn’t be readily discounted.
So of the interested parties which is the better option?
Spurs and United are apparently the front-runners, and for me the decision is quite an easy one. The North Londoners invested heavily last summer; in young midfield talent primarily; therefore being linked to Koke hardly comes as a surprise. That said the likes of Sigurdsson and Capoue are already struggling to get games and for that reason I just cannot see a £20m plus bid for Koke making much sense.
By contrast United are woefully short in creative options from midfield, still clawing onto the remnants of the Ferguson era it is time to move on. The move for Fellaini on deadline day was one of desperation, in January it is time to right those wrongs by investing in the creative quality that they need.
Koke may have to trade the upper echelons of Spanish football for a less than convincing United side, but in terms of his future development there are few better places. United remain a far bigger club with a history of developing young prodigious talents. It is one of the few top Premier League clubs where someone like Koke would be guaranteed to play week in week out and for me that is why this is the prudent move for the player.
These creative outlets are few and far between and it is for that reason that I can see United making an ambitious big money move for the youngster this January. Koke was quick to dispel an suggestions he was one the move when he was asked about Moyes’ presence this week:
“I don’t know anything about it. I am very happy here [at Atletico]. I renewed my contract only this summer and I am very happy. This is my home and there is no better place to be.”
This is the issue for me; United undoubtedly want and need the player, but surely he is much better set where he is already?
January could prove to be quite interesting. The club will no doubt be under pressure to cash in on their man considering the financial troubles that so many La Liga sides are in. In my opinion though this should be a no-goer if Koke has any say in the matter at all.