Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak would be open to a Premier League transfer this summer, with Newcastle among those rumoured to be keen on signing him.
The 29-year-old – who will be in action on Tuesday as Atletico take on Manchester United at Old Trafford – has entered the final 18 months of his contract at the Wanda Metripolitano, and could be available at a cut-price fee ahead of the 2022-23 campaign.
GOAL has learned that a move to England would be welcomed by the Slovenia international, though only to a club Oblak deems to be a potential title-challenger.
Why would Oblak leave Atletico?
After eight years with the Spanish champions, Oblak would be open to a new challenge, and has spoken previously of his admiration of the Premier League.
“The Premier League has strong teams, maybe the strongest,” Oblak, who speaks excellent English, told BBC Sport in April 2021. “I don’t know what the future will bring, but I am sure that in any league I would play in I could play well.
“I have now been in Spain for seven years. Let’s see. I’m still young and I still have some years in front of me. The most important thing for me is the hope that I do not have a lot of injuries, and then we’ll see.”
Would Atletico Madrid let Oblak leave?
Atletico manager Diego Simeone has previously described Oblak as being “the Messi of goalkeepers”, with the ex-Benfica man the reigning La Liga Player of the Season.
His form in 2021-22 has, however, been patchy, with Oblak blamed in some quarters for his positioning as Anthony Elanga scored for Manchester United when the two sides met in the first leg of their last-16 Champions League tie.
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Atleti’s usually watertight defence has been anything but during their defence of the Liga title, and though an ever-changing back line has not helped, Oblak has been forced to take his share of the responsibility.
That said, Simeone would still likely be reluctant to let his No.1 leave, even if it increases the possibility of him departing on a free in the summer of 2023.
Chelsea’s Kepa Arrizabalaga could be considered as a replacement should Oblak leave, with the Spain international having rejuvenated his career over the past two years while backing-up Edouard Mendy at Stamford Bridge.
Which teams want to sign Oblak?
Oblak has previously been of interest to Manchester United and Chelsea, but neither team are on the lookout for a new goalkeeper given the performances of David de Gea and Mendy, respectively, this season.
Liverpool, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham are also secure in the goalkeeping department, especially after Hugo Lloris signed a new contract at Spurs ahead of his previous deal expiring this summer.
That leaves Newcastle as the only club who could realistically afford Oblak this summer, with the Magpies set to secure Premier League survival following a resurgence under Eddie Howe in the second half of the season.
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Upgrades are likely to be sought by Howe in a number of positions this summer, and Oblak would certainly represent the kind of statement signing that the club’s Saudi owners may look to make during their first year in charge.
Oblak, though, is keen to join a team that has proven it can challenge for major honours, and with Newcastle’s project still in its infancy despite their riches, any move by them could be met with resistance by the shot-stopper.
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