£50m Man Utd target closing in on assist leader Fabregas

Atletico Madrid

Atletico Madrid’s midfield playmaker Koke assisted yet another goal as the Rojiblancos successfully fought off Athletic Bilbao in the Copa Del Rey.

Long-standing Manchester United target Koke is having a season to remember. Statistically up there with the very best playmakers in Europe, Atletico Madrid recently upped his release clause by £26m in an effort to hold on to their prized asset – at least in the short-term.

Koke found yet another assist last night as Atletico Madrid held off Athletic Bilbao 1-0 at the Vicente Calderon stadium in the first leg of the Copa Del Rey clash.

The Spanish international was central to everything positive about the home side’s play. Linking up well with Diego Costa, Koke gifted the coveted striker the perfect opportunity to end his recent barren run yet the Brazilian born striker failed to turn home an inviting cross from only a few yards out.

It wasn’t until five minutes from half-time that the deadlock was broken, Godin nodding past the standard Iago Herrerin following a superb right-wing cross from Atleti’s number 6 to give the home side a slender lead going into the second leg in Basque.

So far this campaign, Koke has been a key cog in Diego Simeone’s finely tuned side as the Rojiblanco star has accounted for 12 goals in 19 La Liga starts.

Koke isn’t an ordinary attacking midfield goal scorer in the mould of Gareth Bale or Pedro. However, he is that player that all strikers dream of playing with as those eye of the needle through balls come so naturally for 22-year-old.

In all competitions this season, only one La Liga based player has assisted more goals than Koke – former Arsenal star Cesc Fabregas. As both footballers play in a similar role for each club, the competition between the two is compelling.

Whilst the two players will be more interested in their respected sides winning games and propping the league table, the assists charts at the end of the season could end up defining which player gets a regular starting birth in the Spanish World Cup set-up this summer in Brazil.

image: © azuaje

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