According to Spanish publication Mundo Deportivo, Arsenal have highlighted Atletico Madrid’s highly-rated goalkeeper Jan Oblak as their number one summer transfer target.
The 25-year-old has a reported £88.7 million release clause, and it’s thought that Diego Simeone’s side would fight tooth and nail to keep the player in the Spanish capital in spite of his contract situation.
The Belgium international spent three seasons on loan at Atletico, helping the club break up the Barcelona and Real Madrid dominance whilst also winning La Liga, the Europa League and the Copa Del Rey.
Courtois became a popular figure at Los Colchoneros, and it’s likely the club would have signed him on a permanent deal had it not been for Chelsea’s decision to make him number one at Stamford Bridge.
Despite going on to become Chelsea’s regular ahead of Petr Cech, Courtois has admitted in a recent interview his heart is still in Madrid and with his family based in the Spanish capital a return would make sense.
While his initial quotes, reported by Belgian newspaper Sport, were in response to alleged interest from Real Madrid, it’s a situation which would no doubt have caused Atletico to look on with interest.
Diego Simeone knows the player well, and a chance to re-sign him ahead of rivals Madrid would be wise considering there are no guarantees Oblak will stick around should a club activate his release clause.
A deal which would see Courtois move to Atletico and Oblak to Arsenal wouldn’t cost Atleti any extra, they would replace one world class goalkeeper with another, and they would prevent rivals Real Madrid from strengthening a problem area and possibly force them to spend the summer pursuing Manchester United’s David De Gea.
Arsenal’s Petr Cech is on the wane, and signing a younger, fitter and more athletic goalkeeper will be high on their list of priorities and Oblak is without question among the world’s best right now.
The 6ft 3inch Slovenian is an imposing figure between the sticks, and at 25 he has a good decade of top-level football ahead of him.