Tottenham pull ahead of Atletico Madrid in race for sturdy centre-back

Atletico Madrid are looking to strengthen their central defence, but they may find Antonio Conte standing in the way.

Not counting Reinildo Mandava, who was initially slated for a left-back role, Jose Maria Gimenez and Stefan Savic are the only solid options in the centre of defence. Both have also suffered from injuries and poor form of late, but it has been a problem area for two seasons.

According to Fichajes, Los Rojiblancos are set to pursue Stefan de Vrij as their top priority. The Dutch defender is out of contract at Inter this summer and although they are desperately trying to renew his deal, de Vrij is likely to hit the open market.

However Atleti’s chief obstacle is Tottenham Hotspur. Spurs are reportedly leading the race ahead of Atleti to sign the 30-year-old. Experienced, tested at the top level and a strong defender, it is not surprise he has interest if he can join without a transfer fee.

Working against Diego Simeone is the fact that de Vrij and Conte have already worked together. The latter secured the title with Inter and already maintains a relationship with de Vrij. Atleti are supposedly in talks with Leicester City’s Caglar Soyuncu too, which may be a sign they do not expect to sign de Vrij.

Tags Atletico Madrid Inter Stefan De Vrij Tottenham Hotspur
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