Koke Rules out Manchester United and Barcelona Transfers, Staying at Atletico

Rob Blanchette@@_Rob_BFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2014

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Atletico Madrid star Koke has moved to quash rumours about his future by pledging his loyalty to his current club.

Francisco Acedo Torregosa of Sky Sports writes that the 22-year-old midfielder, who has been a target of Manchester United and Barcelona, has spoken about his desire to continue with the newly crowned La Liga champions.

Torregosa quotes Koke speaking about his future, stating that the World Cup is his current concern:

My future is with Atletico. I am happy in my club and now I have a deal and do not think about an exit. Really my head is only focused on the work for Spain in Brazil 2014. My dream is to win this title with minutes in the game, although that depends on the coach.

Koke starred last season as Atletico stormed to the Champions League final and beat Spain's big two clubs to the championship title.

The young midfielder appeared 49 times for Diego Simeone's men in La Liga and the Champions League, per WhoScored.com, scoring seven goals and providing 15 assists in becoming one of the team's most consistent performers.

This has led to Koke's stock dramatically rising in the past 12 months. A strong World Cup showing would see this increase further.

MADRID, SPAIN - APRIL 18: Koke of Atletico de Madrid protests to the referee during the La Liga match between Club Atletico de Madrid and Elche FC at Vicente Calderon Stadium on April 18, 2014 in Madrid, Spain.  (Photo by Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno/Getty Image
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Spanish football writer Jaime Collazos spoke recently about Koke and why Barcelona and United would want the player, and how his evolution has expedited in the past year.

He wrote in his blog for Sony recently:

The man [Xavi] who has played as big a part in Barcelona’s famous era as anyone, though, is on the bench, and all eyes are on another No. 6. As Martino and Barca attempted to claim the league title without XaviAtletico’s star was Koke, who has evolved and improved perhaps more than any other Spanish footballer over the course of the season.

GETAFE, SPAIN - APRIL 13:  Koke of Club Atletico de Madrid conforts teammate Diego Costa after Costa knocked his knee off the goalposts while scoring Atletico's 2nd goal during the La  Liga match between Getafe CF and Club Atletico de Madrid at Coliseum A
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With Atletico looking like losing Diego Costa and a host of other names, the confirmation of retaining Koke is a huge shot in the arm for Simeone.

He will need to rebuild his team this summer as his squad is plundered by more regal and wealthy teams from around Europe.

Koke is still young and he will further develop under Simeone's tutelage. There is little doubt that if his form continues he will one day be subject to a huge-money transfer to one of the continent's traditional elite.

Barcelona will be looking to replace Xavi in the next year and it may be the case that they will try to slowly coax the player over the coming months. In any case, Koke's loyalty will win him even more friends in the capital as Atletico look to defend their Spanish league crown.