Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone is not surprised to hear rumours that Chelsea want to sign goalkeeper Jan Oblak.
Slovenian goalkeeper Oblak has a long-term deal in the Spanish capital through to 2023 with a whopping £120m release clause, which they are unlikely to negotiate upon.
The former Benfica shot-stopper has established himself into the world’s top tier of goalkeepers at Atleti and a report in the Mirror claim he is now on Chelsea’s radar, with the club willing to throw in Kepa Arrizabalaga as part of the deal.
“The rumours do not surprise me because every year our most important players are wanted by the best players in the world,” Simeone told reporters on Wednesday, as cited by Marca.
“It is normal for clubs to always look for the best players in the world and we have many of them – some have left us and others have stayed, but it is logical that there is interest in Oblak.
“He is our captain and a very important player for us, we can always count on him and his contribution for us is enormous.
“He is decisive and important in the dressing room and year after year he has evolved in every way, both as a goalkeeper and within the group.”
Indeed, earlier this year it was claimed by football.london, via Spanish TV station El Chiringuito – which is not among Spain’s most reputable journalist outlets – that the Blues are prepared to offer €30m for Oblak, with former Athletic Club Bilbao goalkeeper Kepa thrown into the deal.
Kepa replaced Thibaut Courtois as the club’s number one – with the Belgian international instead moving to Real Madrid – and has established himself as the team’s number one shot-stopper.
However, Willy Caballero, 38, replaced Kepa between the sticks for Lampard’s side in a vital run of matches in February including crucial games against Leicester, Manchester United, Tottenham and Bayern Munich.
The Spaniard has been reinstated in Chelsea’s side but long-term doubts remain on his form and future at the club.
Indeed recent Chelsea transfer news has been centred on his future with Valencia linked with a move.
Kepa has often been selected as the Spanish national team goalkeeper ahead of David De Gea and this development is causing concerns for fans of La Roja ahead of this summer’s European Championships.
Atleti are highly unlikely to sanction a sale for Oblak, who is regarded among the world’s best goalkeepers and is vital for Simeone’s side.