Atletico Madrid have confirmed the signing of Slovenian international goalkeeper Jan Oblak on a six-year deal, pending a medical.
The La Liga champions released a statement on their official club website confirming the capture of Benfica's rising star:
Atlético de Madrid and Benfica have reached an agreement for the transfer of Jan Oblak to our Club, pending the corresponding medical examination and the subsequent signing of the player's contract. The Slovenian goalkeeper would be committing for the next six seasons.
Jose Luis Perez Caminero was very satisfied with the reached agreement. For our Sporting Director, Jan Oblak 'is a goalkeeper with a great quality and future, who will contribute a lot due to his enormous qualities. He’s one of the goalkeepers with more projection in the world and we’re very pleased to be able to count on him. It’s great news for our Club.'
While the move may not be official just yet, it hasn't prevented the Spanish giants from hyping Oblak's arrival, already taking it upon themselves to mock up promotional posters regarding his purchase:
His signing would presumably rule out any possibility of Chelsea stopper Thibaut Courtois coming back to the Vicente Calderon on loan for a fourth consecutive season, the Belgian set to instead fight against Petr Cech for the No. 1 jersey at Stamford Bridge.
Oblak moved to Lisbon from boyhood club Olimpija in 2010, but only received his first senior start at the Estadio da Luz last season, following a series of loan moves away from his parent club.
The 21-year-old played a big role in Benfica's 2013-14 campaign, and although his side lost to Sevilla in their Europa League final, author Ben Lyttleton shows just how astute the youngster has been when challenged from 12 yards out:
Oblak spoke to Portuguese newspaper A Bola (h/t Goal.com's Stefan Coerts) on his potential move earlier this week, speaking of his excitement to line up in the Spanish top flight:
I will leave Benfica for Atletico Madrid. Ever since I was a kid, it has been a dream of mine to play in the Spanish league, which is even better than the Portuguese. Joining Atletico is a new challenge I didn't want to pass up. Benfica were keen to hold on to me and did everything they could to prevent me from leaving, but it is my desire to sign for Atletico.
I will never forget my time at Benfica. I wish everybody the best and really appreciate all the help I got here. Benfica are a fantastic club. Financial reasons are not the main reason for this transfer, but it's clear that financial conditions are better at Atletico.
This was a particularly crucial signing for Diego Simeone's side, who relied on the heroics of Courtois to get through a bout of tougher fixtures last season, which saw them lose to Real Madrid in the Champions League final.
Having finally broken up the hold that Real and Barcelona have had on the Spanish title for so many years, prolonging their presence among the upper echelon is now a top priority, and replacing key squad figures will be a difficult task.
Oblak is another young stopper with the potential to reign in the nation's capital for a decade and more. Yet the 2014-15 season will be an especially harsh test of his abilities and whether or not he's ready for such responsibility.
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