Athletico ambushes competitor for a central defender

Atletico Madrid looks set to complete the signing of Mario Hermoso in the next few hours after the player from Espanyol passed his medical with the Rojiblancos.

Reports have it that the defender has already passed his medical at the club and will train this afternoon with his new teammates, following on from the club’s signing of Tottenham defender Kieran Trippier.

Earlier reports on Wednesday claimed that Atletico would pay an initial €30m for the defender with a further €5m in add-ons, despite the Catalan club having a €40m release clause in the contract.

It follows a report last month in Marca claiming ‘negotiations are advanced’ for the central defender who is set to follow Felipe Monteiro to Atleti, another defender who joined from FC Porto in a €20m deal.

Initially, it had been claimed that Espanyol were reluctant to sell him for anything below the player’s release clause but the central defender’s insistence on wanting a move looks to have forced them into an agreement.

Hermoso only joined the Catalan club in 2017 from Real Madrid in a €40 deal while he has a contract until 2020 with a €40m release clause in place.

Madrid possesses a €15m buyback clause while they also are said to still own 50% of his rights, meaning they can sign him for half that price, but it does not appear they will continue their pursuit.

The defender has won two caps for the Spain national team within the last year while he impressed for Espanyol across 35 first-team appearances this campaign.

His move if confirmed will come barely a day after the sie signed a right-back, Kieran Trippier from Champions League finalists Tottenham Hotspurs as the side works on strengthening their backline.

Bayern Munich and Arsenal are the other two clubs who had been directly mentioned in relation to the Madrid-native, with both said to be seeking defensive reinforcements.

A number of defenders are leaving Atletico this summer with the departures of Lucas Hernandez, Diego Godin and Juanfran Torres having all been confirmed, meaning he is likely to be a direct replacement for the position.

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