The end of the January transfer market is less than a week away. Managers are now reaching the stage of mid-season panic where they assess whether their squad is good enough to win the league, qualify for Europe or avoid relegation. There are also some clubs looking to offload some ‘deadwood’ and disruptive figures within their squads. Nicolas Gaitan of Atletico Madrid is seen as one of these ‘deadwood’ players.
Having brought in Vitolo from Sevilla during the summer, Atleti now need to trim their squad of some wingers. Nico Gaitan, having only made 12 appearances (starting four) in all competitions this season has come to the end of his time in Madrid. Since his €25 million move from Benfica in 2016, the Argentine has only contributed four goals and five assists in 48 appearances for the club. This is in sharp contrast to his time in Portugal where he contributed 129 goals (41 goals and 88 assists) in 253 appearances.
With Diego Simeone’s men setting their sights on the Europa League, Gaitan is seen as an unnecessary squad player. In order to balance out the high wages of Diego Costa and Vitolo’s arrivals, Gaitan is furthermore unwanted.
The club may need to consider loaning out the Argentina international. Marca have reported both Southampton and Watford have approached Atletico Madrid with such an offer.
Southampton are currently 18th in the Premier League and have struggled with scoring in the past two seasons. The arrival of Monaco striker Guido Carrillo should ease that burden. Mauricio Pellegrino is expected to want to bring in a winger as well however.
Watford, having only appointed Javi Gracia, are looking to cement their current 10th position and move up the table. Both managers are more than acquainted with La Liga football. They have seen Nico Gaitan up close enough to know what qualities he can bring their respective teams.
Gaitan is believed to have a longing to move back to Argentina. Here, both River Plate and Boca Juniors have been spending in order to reign power. At 29, Gaitan would be a welcomed addition back to home club Boca. A move to England is a likely destination at this point of his career however. An interesting week lies ahead for the Atletico winger where he needs to make a change.