'This wasn’t the time to leave' - €25m Manchester United summer target

Koke

Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke has been discussing his difficult decisions this summer.

Atletico Madrid had an exceptional season last term, and being a team who do not command vast sums of money, other clubs soon showed an interest in their star players.

They lost several big names - Diego Costa, Filipe Luis and Thibaut Courtois all joining up with Chelsea one way or another.

However they did fight off interest for many other players including Miranda, Diego Godin and midfielder Koke.

The Spanish international was heavily linked with several teams this summer - most intensely La Liga rivals Barcelona.

But Premier League teams were also keen. Chelsea were believed to be keeping tabs on him but it was Manchester United who were said to be keenest.

David Moyes went to scout him on several occasions and the presence of a believed €25 million release clause would have accelerated the process.

In the end it never happened. Koke was happy at Atletico and signed a new deal with a bumper release clause toward the end of the season. Koke was going nowhere and was now said to carry a €60 million buy-out, a fee it was still rumoured Manchester United and Barcelona were ready to pay.

Chelsea's interest died with the signature of Cesc Fabregas, United's died earlier when they sacked David Moyes - but Barcelona were linked most summer with a move for Koke.

Now he has again addressed the summer rumours in an interview whilst on international duty.

And according to quotes translated by Inside Spanish Football, he was never on the move from his beloved Atletico - at least, not at the moment:

“I have to be grateful for the interest from Barcelona and other teams, but I’m happy because I wanted to be here. I’ve been here all my life and this wasn’t the time to leave: we’re winning everything, the club is growing, we’re growing as players… Why would I leave at Atlético Madrid’s best moment?”

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