Fresh off the back of starting in and winning the Europa League Final against Marseille in Lyon on Wednesday night, Atletico Madrid right back Sime Vrsaljko has been linked with a move to Manchester United.
Even though the Croatian is seen as the successor to the ever present Juanfran on the right hand side of the impenetrable Atlei defence, question marks have lingered over his future at the club for the past two seasons. Having joined the now Europa League champions from Sassulo for €16 million in the summer of 2016, the 26 year old hasn’t found regular game time as often as he would like.
This is largely down to Diego Simeone preferring to stick with those that he trusts and many a player have failed to thrive at the club during his six years in charge. This season has seen Vrsaljko start MORE games than Juanfran in the league however and Simeone finally appears to start trusting the Croatian. Signing the Croatian onto a new contract until 2022 with Los Rojiblancos was a clear sign of this trust.
Manchester United are in need to reinforce in this position however and will be circling around every decent right back in Europe like vultures. Antonio Valencia has been a revelation at right back for Jose Mourinho and continues to thrive there. He is however, turning 33 in August and a replacement is needed long term. Mateo Darmian isn’t fully trusted by Mourinho and appears Italy-bound once again with Napoli showing interest.
Napoli have also been displaying interest in Vrsaljko but are unlikely to be able to compete with Man United financially. On top of this their Albanian right back Elseid Hysaj is seen as a guaranteed starter. Making a move to Napoli counter-productive for Vrsaljko.
Atletico have supposedly placed a €30 million price tag on Vrsaljko and this is certainly within the English club’s enormous budget. It is believed they would gladly accept such a figure and would free up funds for an adequate replacement. This is also seen as a cheaper alternative to Djibril Sidibe for Man United and they will be looking to wrap up a deal before the World Cup in the fear either player’s valuation sky-rockets.