Premier League suitors will struggle to land the hugely successful Diego Simeone because he sees Italy as his next destination as he looks set to leave Atletico Madrid at the end of next season.
A number of Spanish media reported on Thursday that Simeone had taken the extraordinary step of reducing his contract by two years and he will now be a free agent in 2018 instead of being tied to the club until 2020.
The change underlines a desire to bring to an end what will have been a seven-year stay at the club. Simeone is already Spain’s longest serving manager by a distance and having won five trophies with Atletico and taken them to two European Cup finals he has already secured his place in the club’s history as one of its greatest coaches.
The former club captain and double-winner is keen not to leave on bad terms and he knows that walking away in 2018 will allow him to see the club into their new 67,000 capacity stadium next season and through a difficult 18 months without being able to sign new players after the appeal against a Fifa transfer ban was rejected.
The 46-year-old former Argentina captain had originally signed a new deal in March 2015, extending his stay at the club until 2020 but he admitted after last season’s Champions League final that he was considering his future and sources close to the Atletico coach say the club had to fight hard to keep him in the summer.
Both Paris Saint Germain and Inter Milan were interested in his services but neither were able to get their man. Simeone was reluctant to move to Paris and his lengthy deal meant huge compensation that put off Inter.
Both Chelsea and Manchester United now have top managers in place and neither club is likely to push for the Argentine again but with Arsene Wenger’s reign at Arsenal coming to a close they could try to tempt Simeone by asking him to join a league already dominated by the world’s top coaches.