Atletico Madrid midfielder Koke is the next generation Spanish superstar who is likely to take Xavi’s role for the Spain national team. Koke has been chased by Barcelona, Chelsea and Manchester United, but he feels Madrid is his home, and therefore it is difficult to lure him away from Atletico, but his transfer chances cannot be completely ruled out either.
Catalan newspaper Sport claim today that Barcelona haven’t given up on Koke yet but they feel his €60m release is ‘madness’ and say ‘could they get him in January? Few things are impossible in football.’
Last summer, Barcelona were handed a choice to make a move for either of Koke or Rakitic; the Blaugrana went for the later, mainly because of financial reasons.
Koke himself revealed that it was hard for him to refuse tempting offer from Barcelona, but he could not bear to leave Vicente Calderon.
“The truth is that part of me said it was difficult to say no to Barca but I wanted to continue at home for many years at Atletico,” he told AS, via Goal.com.
“It wasn’t time to leave. This is my home, where I feel wanted and the club didn’t need to sell. How was I going to leave at the best time for Atletico?
“It’s not easy to say no to Barca and their interest was appreciated. It means the work I’ve done has paid off. But I’m at home here.
“I’m just another player at Atletico, a player who gives everything for his team and does what Simeone asks. I’m not the best or the flagship, the banner. The most important thing to me is to make a better Atletico and be a team player, which is ultimately what matters.
Koke is also thought to be a reported target of Premier League giants Chelsea and Manchester United as well, but given the financial complexity under the FFP rule, it is highly unlikely that both these clubs would be willing to pay €60m for him any time soon.
Barcelona are currently under a transfer ban, but the Catalan giants hope to get it removed either in January on next transfer. In that situation, they would be looking to make a formal move yet again for Koke.
With Xavi approaching the twilight of his career, Barcelona need someone who can be his like-for-like replacement and Koke fits all the bill to emulate the one of the greatest ever midfielders of all time.
Koke is proud to represent Atletico Madrid, and the Rojiblancos are doing exceptionally well under Diego Simeone, so he has no extra motivation left apart from finances, to move elsewhere.
Then again, in football transfer anything can happen. Koke’s transfer may seem difficult at the moment, but is not impossible either.