Could Spain star Koke soon be lining up for Chelsea or Manchester City?
Atletico Madrid (16/1 with Coral to win the Champions League) midfielder Koke is reportedly set to be the subject of a fierce battle between Premier League title contenders Chelsea and Manchester City.
The duo are apparently ready to duke it out for the guileful Spaniard and could both trigger his rumoured £48m release clause in January.
Madrid-born and bred, the lauded playmaker provided 18 assists across all competitions for his club last campaign, and has registered 12 already this term.
Crafty Koke also looks certain to be a mainstay in Spain’s starting XI for the foreseeable future, and as the accomplished youngster continues to dazzle, Atletico will likely struggle to keep him at the Vicente Calderon.
Manchester United were strongly linked with the Spain maestro in the last winter transfer window, but the 22-year-old instead stayed put and enjoyed an incredible season of success with his boyhood club.
After playing an integral part in Atleti’s La Liga triumph, Koke was also apparently pursued by Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid, with Diego Simeone’s side reportedly rebuffing numerous bids.
Despite the clamour for Koke, though, the composed and creative midfield conductor seems keen to remain at Atletico. Before jetting off to the World Cup in Brazil, the Spaniard stated: “My future is with Atletico. I am happy in my club and now I have a deal and do not think about an exit.”
With the Spanish capital club having stumbled slightly this season, though, rivals appear to smell blood and are circling the top transfer target.
It is thought the Blues and Citizens, in particular, are preparing to go toe-to-toe to secure Koke’s services and bypass the Madrid-based club, who are unwilling to enter negotiations over their prized asset.
Jose Mourinho’s men may feel they have the advantage, having already poached Diego Costa and Filipe Luis from Simeone’s successful side, with Spain teamates Cesc Fabregas and Cesar Azpilicueta also plying their trade at Stamford Bridge.
City are also in the frame, however, and could offer Koke the chance to play alongside compatriots David Silva and Jesus Navas, as part of a tantalising attack.
Versatile Koke, who can operate in both central and wide positions, would undoubtedly be an incredible asset for either of the Premier League giants, who already boast a glut of top quality midfielders between them.
Whether the young Spaniard would be prepared to leave his hometown, and a certain starting spot under mentor Simeone, as Atleti (outsiders at 20/1 to retain La Liga) look to build on last season, remains to be seen.