Atlético Madrid face a fight to keep talented defender José Gimenez with three of Europe’s wealthiest clubs interested in signing him, according to Tuttosport.
Italian champions Juventus already considered the 22-year-old in the summer after losing Leonardo Bonucci to AC Milan, but any deal was near impossible due to Atlético’s ban on signing new players – meaning they wouldn’t sell any of their key names.
Juventus remain interested in Gimenez, a Uruguayan international who already has 37 caps to his name, but so are Manchester City and Manchester United according to Turin-based Tuttosport.
Both of the Manchester giants are very keen on a player who, according to experts, is one of the best under-23 defenders on the planet.
Gimenez has a release clause of £56million and Atlético would certainly not let him go for a penny less, with their intention being to have him remain as one of the leaders of their next generation.
At the beginning of June, it was reported in Spain that Atlético have already agreed to sell another of their young gems, Lucas Hernández, to Manchester City in a €50 million (£43.7 million) deal.
Hernández, a left-footed centre-back, will join City next summer if that report – by a solid source, it must be said – turns out to be true, which would make a move for Gimenez highly unlikely.
A centre-back may well be on the agenda next summer, with Vincent Kompany once again missing a big chunk of the season, despite a promising start to the season. The club captain has now been out of action for almost two months and Pep Guardiola said yesterday he still isn’t sure when the Belgian will return.
John Stones and Nicolás Otamendi have formed an excellent partnership in the heart of City’s defence, but with Eliaquim Mangala, a player Pep tried to replace in the summer, as the main back-up, a new centre-back could arrive before the start of next season if the boss feels he can no longer rely on Kompany. The club also has local boy Tosin Adarabioyo in the first-team squad, but he has yet to make an appearance this season.