Atletico Madrid have reportedly beaten a host of European clubs to the signing of Napoli’s left back, Faouzi Ghoulam. Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid are among the suitors for the 24-year old Napoli defender, but now it has been revealed that Ghoulam might be playing at the Vicente Calderon next season.
French Champions, PSG, are also keen on the speedy left-back who they see as a replacement for Liverpool-bound Lucas Digne. Mundo Deportivo, a Spanish paper, understands that only Atletico have held ‘exploratory’ talks with the Algerian (Express).
Atletico boss, Diego Simeone reportedly wants to bring back Filipe Luis from Chelsea but he has been deterred in his pursuit of the defender due to the Blues’ asking price of €20 million for the 29-year old Brazilian, as per the Express.
Luis’ replacement Guilherme Siquera also failed to show consistency last term.
These, however, made Simeone turn his attention to the French-born Ghoulam. The Rojiblancos’ manager knows he has to move fast to complete the deal as other European top clubs are keen on the defender.
According to Squawka, Ghoulam – whose contract with Napoli runs out in 2018 – made only one defensive error last season in Serie A, which is very impressive for a defender who loves to move forward and support Napoli’s attack.
The ex-Saint Etienne marker’s strength lies in his ‘marauding runs’, which was a feature in his team’s game plan last season. This, as per Squawka, led him to creating 23 chances which was the highest for any defender in the Serie A last term.
Express, however, reveal that Atletico will make a bid of £21 million for both Faouzi Ghoulam and team mate, Jose Callejon.
Meanwhile, Ghoulam himself has admitted to Algerian paper, Le Butuer that although he is flattered to be linked to Europe’s top clubs but he is not losing his head about the rumours.
Ghoulam joined Napoli in 2014 and immediately became a starter under Rafael Benitez (now of Real Madrid). He has made 32 appearances since joining.