Both Barcelona and Atletico Madrid want to add to their striking options and are in pursuit of Sevilla forward Kevin Gameiro.
Before we delve into the Kevin Gameiro chapter, let us take a look at where the two clubs stand in terms of their search for a striker.
Barcelona have been in pursuit of a striker to add to their squad since the start of the summer transfer window and have been linked with many targets with no end result. The Catalan side has been rumoured to have been interested in a couple of forwards but both of them have reportedly rejected their approach. While former Barcelona player Nolito joined Manchester City, choosing Pep Guardiola over Barcelona, Juventus striker Paulo Dybala decided to stay with the Bianconeri amidst no real assurance of a regular place in the starting lineup at Camp Nou.
Atletico Madrid, on the other hand, have constantly eyed a reunion with Chelsea forward Diego Costa. There have been reports of interest from both Atletico and Diego Costa’s side with Chelsea mostly unwilling to let the striker go till they find a replacement. The recent reports have been disheartening, though, with new Blues’ manager Antonio Conte stating that the Spaniard is not for sale. Atletico Madrid have been forced to look elsewhere and have been reported to be interested in Borussia Dortmund striker Aubameyang and Liverpool forward Divock Origi. But, Aubameyang has come out and said that he would only consider leaving Dortmund for Real Madrid, which is likely to be a deal-breaker.
So, amidst the failure of both parties to sign a striker, they have turned to fellow Liga BBVA side Sevilla and have registered their interest in French forward Kevin Gameiro. Barcelona were the quicker one off the gates and were reported to have reached an agreement worth around €25m with Sevilla over the transfer of Gameiro, as per Spanish publication Sport. But, the same publication has now revealed that Atletico Madrid have entered the race to sign the 29-year-old and have offered Sevilla €20m plus Luciano Vietto for the Frenchman.
The interest in Gameiro seems justified as the forward has had a brilliant season with Sevilla. He scored 29 goals in all competitions last season, 8 of which played a crucial part in his club’s triumphant Europa League campaign. Now the decision lies with Sevilla as to which offer they should accept. The logical move would be to accept Atletico Madrid’s offer as Diego Simeone’s side is offering a striking replacement for Gameiro along with cash almost equal to Barcelona’s bid.
Analysis of Gameiro’s possible decision in case Sevilla accept both bids
If Sevilla were to accept both the bids, Gameiro would be faced with a situation where he has to choose between his current employers, the La Liga champions and the Champions League runners-up and we attempt to logically analyse which move would be the most beneficial for him.
Barcelona already have the terrific trio – Neymar, Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi – leading the lines and the French forward would find it hard to break into the starting lineup at Camp Nou. The 29-year-old is at the prime of his footballing career and would not like being restricted to the bench on most occasions.
Atletico Madrid have Antoine Griezmann, who has been on a hot streak for both club and nation, along with Fernando Torres. The third striker Luciano Vietto is most likely on his way out but even with the Argentine gone, it is hard to see Gameiro fit at the Spanish capital. Granted, Simeone can adjust the shape of his squad to include the French forward in the starting lineup by pushing Griezmann out wide. But there doesn’t seem to be too much sense in doing that. The Euro 2016 Golden Boot winner is not nearly as prolific from wide positions than playing centrally as a forward and even though Gameiro is known for his finishing prowess, it is unlikely that the forward would be able to make up for it.
Sevilla, on the other hand, would love to keep Gameiro at the club as they look to improve upon their seventh-placed finish in the league last season along with the added competitiveness of Champions League that lies ahead. The Spanish club have seen almost half or more of their goals come from the French striker and Gameiro seems to be a perfect fit for their playing style.
It would make sense for Gameiro to stick with Sevilla and reject the advances of Barcelona and Atletico Madrid. The striker is entering the last few years of his career and needs to play regular first-team football at a club where the system suits him. Sevilla seems to be that club but there is no real guarantee that the French striker would end up staying. Sevilla might get tempted with an almost unbelievable offer or Gameiro might just opt to join either one of the interested clubs in order to seek his maiden La Liga title.