Atlético Madrid have secured a move for Spanish winger Vitolo from Sevilla after a bizarre few weeks that almost saw the transfer break down in favor of a renewal at Sevilla.
But What About the Transfer Ban?
Good question. I was just getting to that.
While it is true that Atlético are unable to register any players until the next Winter transfer window, they have employed some sly business tactics to still secure Vitolo.
The plan was for Atlético to give Vitolo enough money to pay his own £33million release clause at Sevilla, effectively making him a free agent.
Then, Vitolo would make a move to Las Palmas for the first half of the season, rejoining his hometown club. By signing a six-month long contract, he would then be able to join Atlético during the Winter window as a free agent yet again. His deal with the Madrid club would see him stay until 2022.
This unconventional method of “loaning” a player without first registering him is a bit odd, but ultimately appears to circumvent the restrictions of Atlético’s transfer ban.
There’s Just One Thing…
What would a good transfer story be without a little drama?
Just as it appeared that the move would be finalized, Sevilla’s president Jose Castro came out and said that Vitolo had signed a contract extension with Sevilla instead.
The news came after Las Palmas’ sporting director had already confirmed the loan deal from their end, so naturally, many people were caught off-guard with the sudden change.
Just when it looked like the 27-year-old had put transfer speculations to bed, a phone call with Atlético the next day was apparently enough to change Vitolo’s mind yet again. And this time, it was for good.
The winger sealed his fate by paying his own release clause on Wednesday, putting an end to this short-lived rollercoaster ride of a transfer saga.
What’s in Store
The deal appears to be a good one for almost all parties involved. Las Palmas will have a talented player return to the club for half of the season. And Vitolo will get playing time that should help him secure a place in the Spain squad for the 2018 World Cup.
Meanwhile, Atlético Madrid managed to overcome their transfer ban to sign a desperately-needed winger, who will arrive during the most important part of the season. The hope of the club is that Vitolo can contribute in wide positions after scoring ten goals and making seven assists last season. He was also a player specifically requested by manager Diego Simeone, so there must be a plan in place for the Spaniard.
Sevilla may have something to complain about, however. It seemed that there was an unofficial agreement between Vitolo and the club before the switch was made. Going back on that deal made Jose Castro look quite foolish for publicly declaring the extension was signed. So foolish, in fact, that Sevilla could consider taking legal action over the matter. But deciding who is guilty here is something that should be left to the legal experts.
The only thing that matters now is that Atlético Madrid will have a new player waiting for them in six months.