Atletico Madrid are eyeing a double move from city rivals Real Madrid, identifying James Rodriguez and Mariano Diaz (pictured) as transfer targets.
When their loan players return this summer, Madrid’s bloated squad will have 37 first-team members before any new signings are factored in, and they are keen to offload several players.
Mariano and James are both said to have wage packets that are prohibitive – particularly for players who have played a minimal role this season and appear to play no part in Zinedine Zidane’s plans.
Dominican striker Mariano has not started a game in any competition this season – with just four fleeting substitute appearances, although he did clinch an El Clasico victory over Barcelona with a late second goal, moments after coming on.
He has been a peripheral figure across his two seasons at Madrid since his 2018 return from Lyon, which was thought to be in the region of €21.5m.
Indeed, Mariano made just three league starts in total last season – although two of those did come after Zinedine Zidane returned to the Madrid dugout in March.
Mariano scored four goals last term – in substitute appearances against Roma (in the Champions League), against Alaves in La Liga and a brace against Villarreal in April in a rare start for the club.
Mariano starred in his sole campaign at French club Lyon – whom he played for between his Madrid stints – netting 21 goals in all competitions.
Atleti landed midfielder Marcos Llorente from their city rivals last summer.