Four reasons Marcos Llorente won't sign for United and one why he might
Around a week ago, Manchester United were linked with a move for Marcos Llorente.
Spanish newspaper AS reported United have contacted Atletico Madrid to signal a desire to offer 80 million Euros for the midfielder (£68.5m).
This was not a report we covered on United In Focus at the time. As a ‘news story’, it simply wasn’t what it promised to be. It seemed like a typical international break rumour, which does not align with United’s needs (more later).
What we have done, a week on, because several national newspapers in England picked up on the report and covered it as if it were gospel, is break down the situation surrounding Llorente and how it relates to United.
We have four reasons why Llorente won’t be joining United this summer, and one why he might.
He’s in the form of his life
Marcos Llorente is simply put, enjoying the best season of his career to date.
Llorente is a regular starter in Atletico’s line-up, and he has scored 10 goals and provided nine assists.
Nine of his goals have come in La Liga. His highest return before this was three league goals.
Unsurprisingly, Llorente is happy at Atletico. AS report ‘he does not contemplate a change of scene’. It appears on and off the pitch he is very content. Why change unless absolutely necessary?
Atletico very rarely sell their top players
Atletico Madrid is a club with stability, thanks to enigmatic manager Diego Simeone.
The club have resisted moves for top players like Jan Oblak, Koke, and Jose Gimenez, and key player Diego Godin was only allowed to leave when he turned 33.
Antoine Griezmann was a recent exception – only because Barcelona paid his £100 million plus release clause.
Marcos Llorente is under contract until 2024, and from that perspective, Atletico are in a strong position over his future.
He’s done the ‘big club’ move before
The attraction of moving to Manchester United is not likely to appeal to Marcos Llorente like it might do for many players.
Llorente has been with a huge club before, coming through Real Madrid’s youth system. He played 39 games for Real but could not establish himself as a regular.
He knows all about the pressure and demands of playing for a ‘dream club’, and having now found happiness at Atletico, a sizeable club in their own right, he’s unlikely to want to give that up just because United come calling.
Questionable use of United’s funds
This is the big one. Do United really need to spend £68.5 million on a central midfielder?
Perhaps, if Paul Pogba leaves, the answer might be ‘yes’. But that type of money would be better spent on a more defined defensive midfielder like a Declan Rice or Wilfred Ndidi, as opposed to Llorente, who is more of a box-to-box type central midfielder.
United have needs at centre-back, at striker, and right wing, too. The club may have a budget of under £100 million to spend, before sales.
Splashing such a substantial fee on Llorente would be a move which could leave United short in other areas of greater need.
Do Atletico need cash?
The one reason why United may have a chance of doing this deal, would be if Atletico need money. And perhaps that is even the source of the rumour.
The report notes Atletico don’t want to sell Llorente, but they would have to seriously study a proposal of £68.5 million, against their losses from Covid and their last 16 elimination from the Champions League at the hands of Chelsea.
The MEN reported in January 2020 that United were considering a loan offer for Llorente, as at the time, he was not a regular for Diego Simeone’s side.
This latest report could be designed to try to grab United’s attention, and encourage the club to make an offer this summer, to help alleviate Atletico’s financial problems.
Simeone’s side have shown before that they can sell top players and stay strong. Llorente would be a loss for them, but not an irreplaceable one, given their astuteness at spotting talent.
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