Atletico Madrid put Guimaraes pursuit on hold as they prioritise new striker

goal.com, 10 December 2019, 19:56
The 22-year-old's move to the Wanda Metropolitano may not go through despite the two clubs having a verbal agreement

Atletico Madrid have put their pursuit of Athletico Paranaense defensive midfielder Bruno Guimaraes to the side as they have decided to focus on bringing in a new striker instead.

The Rojiblancos had a verbal deal in place to sign Guimaraes, but the move now appears in question as other European clubs look set to pounce.

Goal understands that with the club's strikers faltering in 2019-20, Atletico have decided that their priority for January must be a new forward instead of Guimaraes.

With concerns over UEFA's Financial Fair Play regulations, Diego Simeone's side believe they may not be able to add both Guimaraes and a striker.

That could reopen the race for the Brazil U-23 international, with Flamengo, Chelsea, Benfica, Porto and PSG all reportedly keen on a player valued at up to €35 million (£30m/$39m).

Guimaraes has indicated that he would prefer to move to the Spanish capital, but knows that Atletico are far from the only club to be interested in his services.

“Atletico Madrid are my preference for my transfer, but I also have other proposals,” Guimaraes told Marca.

"I don't know what can happen, but what I can say is that I did my part on the pitch. Now I have to put my future in the hands of those who run the business side."

Atletico have faltered in La Liga this season, sitting in seventh place with a title challenge appearing unlikely after spotting both Real Madrid and Barcelona an eight-point advantage.

Goals have been a major issue for Simeone's men, who have managed only 16 in 16 matches. Only five of La Liga's 20 teams have scored fewer.

Diego Costa, who is currently injured, has managed just two goals in 15 appearances in all competitions.

Fellow striker Alvaro Morata is faring better than his team-mate, but his return of seven goals in 17 appearances hasn't been enough for a side desperate for more scoring.

Outside of Morata, Atletico's next highest scorer is Joao Felix, who only has three goals to his name in 2019-20.

Atletico face Lokomotiv Moscow in the Champions League on Wednesday as they look for a win that would seal a spot in the last 16.

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