Atletico Madrid have lost their starting right-back, but only for a few hours since they already reached an agreement to sign his replacement. Let’s go step by step through what happened here.
First, Atletico Madrid sent Sime Vrsaljko to Inter Milan on a season-long deal, although Inter now have the option to buy the Croatia international if they are satisfied with the player’s contributions during the 2018-19 season… and they probably will. Vrsaljko has emerged as one of the best right-backs in Europe. Inter paid £7.20 million as a loan fee to Atletico.
Los Colchoneros did not stand pat, though. Knowing they had to find a suitable replacement for Vrsaljko’s departure, they went ahead and secured a move for Santiago Arias. The Colombia international now joins the Spanish giants on a five-year deal, putting the writing on the wall for Vrsaljko’s tenure with Atletico.
In other words: in the unlikely event that Inter do not want to exercise Vrsaljko’s loan option past this season, Vrsaljko would probably leave the side either way. Arias is here to stay and is a proven player that already stood out both at the Eredivisie and at the World Cup with Los Cafeteros.
It seems both parties have won after the deal was made. Inter got the player they wanted and finally secured a substantial upgrade on the right-back role, while Atletico replaced a competent defender with an equally sound one, and one that is eager to prove his worth in one of the top leagues in Europe.
Sounds like a win-win deal to me.