Reports by Fichajes earlier this week claimed Atletico Madrid have offered West Ham United the chance to sign Vitolo Machin, but David Moyes must avoid launching a swoop for the outcast forward.
Vitolo’s days at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium are seen to be numbered after falling out of favour under Diego Simeone, who has informed the Colchoneros hierarchy that he does not see the 31-year-old as a part of his future plans.
Simeone has questioned the winger’s attitude in training, while a mixture of a lack of support from the Argentine and injuries have restricted Vitolo to just 12 appearances across all competitions this season.
Atletico are understood to have reached out to West Ham to sound out the London Stadium natives’ stance on a move for Vitolo given Simeone’s position, as the Hammers had shown an interest in the 12-cap Spain international over the winter.
The Irons are assessing options who can improve Moyes’ squad in the off-season as they strive to build on a surprise challenge for Champions League qualification, with aspirations of regularly occupying a top position in the Premier League table.
Vitolo is expected to be made available for a transfer in the summer for €10m (£8.5m), as Atletico chiefs are eager to offload his £189,000-per-week contract which expires next year.
West Ham are well-aware of Atletico’s position on Vitolo’s future and could finalise a deal to sign the UD Las Palmas product before the end of the season, should the east Londoners decide to take up the Colchoneros’ offer.
But Moyes must walk away from the negotiating table and reject the La Liga giants’ approach, as Vitolo would not be expected to improve his options next season and instead hamstring the Irons with a likely lucrative contract added to the wage bill.
Vitolo rejected a move to Villarreal during the winter in favour of staying at the Wanda Metropolitano, but Mundo Deportivo noted in February that he had disappeared from Simeone’s radar as the forward’s difficult season is the worst he has ever faced in Madrid.
The 31-year-old hardly counts in Simeone’s plans any longer and the Colchoneros’ would not stand in Vitolo’s way of leaving in the summer, as it is clear that his time with the club is effectively over barring a dramatic change of events.
Simeone considered Vitolo to be a key part of his plans last season with 35 appearances, yet the winger – with a TransferMarkt valuation of £7m – has only started five of his 12 outings across all competitions this term.
The Argentine also noted back in 2019, via quotes by Marca: “We know the characteristics of Vitolo. When he hits top form, he has talent, vision and a calmness about him.”
But that has not been on show for a long while now with three goals and three assists last term and just a single goal involvement to his name this season, after creating Joao Felix’s opener in a 3-1 win over CA Osasuna in October.
It would be unlikely that Vitolo is prepared to give up his lucrative wage with a year remaining on his Atletico Madrid contract, either, giving Moyes all the more reason to walk away from a potential transfer this summer.
GSB surely wouldn’t be happy landing an ageing winger who’s barely produced anything remotely good over the past two seasons, and would command a hefty wage. It’s a recipe for a West Ham nightmare.
AND in other news, West Ham dodged a £32m bullet in a 2017 deal dubbed a “real coup”…