One of Manchester United’s manytargets this summer has revealed why he chose to remain with his current employers. Koke reportedly snubbed a move to Old Trafford in the summer because he’s enjoying the ‘best time’ at Athletico Madrid. Louis van Gaal was reportedly ready to trigger the £48m release clause the player had at Athletico but the Dutch boss was left hanging when the 22-year-old rejected the move.
With an impressive performance with Athletico’s La Liga winning side, Spanish giants, Barcelona were also looking to price over the mid-fielder as a possible replacement for the ageing Xavi.
Koke was reported to have said ‘We must thank the interest of Barcelona and other teams, but I’m happy because I want to be here, I’ve been here all my life and it was not time to go’
‘The club is growing, we are growing as players, why I would go at the best time of Athletico Madrid?’
These statements came at a time when several of the club’s top stars were jumping ship with both Diego Costa and Filipe Luis moving over to join Chelsea, and it came as a big surprise that Koke decided to stay put.
Manchester United have since signed Ander Herrera, Daley Blind and Angel Di Maria to add more quality to their hitherto depleted midfield and have continued to shop for more. Several of Europe’s finest players have been linked with the Old Trafford outfit including Juventus’s, Arturo Vidal, AS Roma’s Kevin Strootman, Napoli’s Marek Hamsik and more recently, Newcastle’s Cheick Tioté. Manchester United’s desperation has been further fuelled by the injury sustained by summer arrival Ander Herrera, and although the club has been handed a boost with the return of long serving midfielder Michael Carrick, it is still obvious that Louis van Gaal will be very active in the January transfer window with emphasis on the midfield.
The creativity that Koke possess will provide a stiff competition to Herrera and Carrick and the fact the Athletico Madrid man is just 22-years-old will suit Louis van Gaal’s rebuilding process. The only problem with Koke is his price tag. It is true that Manchester United spent almost £30m on Luke Shaw, and that has generated a lot of criticism as it is, but £48m for a 22-year-old? That’s like £10m more than what Juventus want for Arturo Vidal! No matter how desperate Louis van Gaalis to land a midfielder, he’d still be wary of splashing such cash on Koke, when he could actually get Kevin Strootman and another upcoming midfielder for as much.