Atletico Madrid have officially announced the signing of Rodrigo De Paul, who joins Diego Simeone’s side from Udinese on a five-year deal after undergoing medicals in Buenos Aires on Monday.
Simeone has been key to convincing his compatriot to sign for the LaLiga Santander champions, after a season where he scored nine times and mustered 10 assists in Serie A.
Following an outstanding season in Italy, De Paul became a Copa America champion with Argentina, who won their first major trophy in 28 years.
The agreement between the three parties was reached weeks earlier but his signing was expected to be announced after the tournament came to an end.
Back in 2013, Simeone had claimed that De Paul was one of the greatest Argentine talents and fast forward eight years, the two men will now join forces at Atletico.
After Atletico confirmed his signing, De Paul said: ‘I’m very happy, I’m going to join [the] champions and I’m conscious of the responsibility it carries,’ De Paul stated hin his first official words as a player of the club. ‘It is a big step in my football career.
‘Because of my experience in Spanish football, I know very well Atlético de Madrid, without counting with all the friends and colleagues I have playing in Spain.
I’m very happy to have the opportunity of working under Simeone. I love football, it’s part of my daily life, and having a manager [like him] is a privilege.’
The Argentine, who established himself as a key player in the national team during their Copa America success, had been a long-time target for Atletico and enjoyed a brilliant campaign in Serie A last season, scoring nine times and laying on 10 assists.
A FRIENDLY AGENT
De Paul’s agent Agustin Jimenez is an old acquaintance for Atletico as he is also Angel Correa’s representative and he was key to the team’s efforts in signing the Argentine.
It remains to be seen whether De Paul will establish himself in Atletico’s starting line-up, with Koke and Marcos Llorente being undisputed starters.
Saul Niguez could depart this summer, while Lucas Torreira, Geoffrey Kondogbia and Hector Herrera will all be competing for a spot in the first XI.
JAMES COULD BE HANDED AWAY OUT OF EVERTON
Everton playmaker James Rodriguez could be handed a route out of Goodison Park with Serie A giants Inter Milan interested in signing the Colombia international.
Rodriguez arrived at Everton last summer under former Toffees manager Carlo Ancelotti but after an impressive start, struggled to maintain a consistent level in the Premier League.
Now, Everton are expected to offload him this summer and, according to Marca, AC Milan will try and bring him to Serie A.
The Italian side lost Turkey playmaker Hakan Calhanoglu to their city rivals Inter Milan on a free transfer this summer and they need a replacement.
Marca cite reports in Italy that Milan are looking at Rodriguez and his former Real Madrid team-mate Isco as potential candidates to come in.
Sportsmail reported last month that the 29-year-old Rodriguez’s agent Jorge Mendes is offering him to other clubs and that Atletico Madrid and Napoli also held interest in him.
Milan finished second in Serie A last season and are preparing to compete in the Champions League in the upcoming campaign.
Rodriguez, who played 26 times for Everton last season and scored six goals, is currently back on Merseyside undergoing pre-season training under new manager Rafa Benitez.
The appointment of the former Liverpool boss has split the Toffees fanbase and he arrives after the much-loved Ancelotti quit Everton to return to Real Madrid.
Everton finished 10th under Ancelotti last season and kick their 2021-22 Premier League campaign off on August 14 at Goodison Park against Southampton.