Manchester City Target Sime Vrsaljko Reportedly Asks to Leave Atletico Madrid

Tom Sunderland@@TomSunderland_Featured ColumnistNovember 28, 2017

ELCHE, SPAIN - OCTOBER 25:  Sime Vrsaljko of Atletico de Madrid reacts during the Copa del Rey first leg match between Elche CF and Atletico de Madrid at Estadio Martinez Valero on October 25, 2017 in Elche, Spain.  (Photo by Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images)
Manuel Queimadelos Alonso/Getty Images

Atletico Madrid defender Sime Vrsaljko has reportedly asked to leave the club as speculation linking him with Manchester City and Serie A giants Napoli continues to grow.

Madrid-based newspaper Marca reported Vrsaljko has pushed for a move away from the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium by requesting to leave face-to-face with Atletico officials (h/t TalkSport).

The Croatia international joined Los Rojiblancos from Italian outfit Sassuolo in the summer of 2016 but has found his chances limited while he serves as deputy to first-choice right-back Juanfran.

Italian football journalist Claudio Russo recently confirmed the news of Vrsaljko's intent to leave Atletico, as well as giving some indication as to how much his suitors would need to fork out to sign him:

Atletico Madrid president Enrique Cerezo confirmed earlier in November that the club was yet to receive any offers for the player but did touch on the interest of Napoli. He told Radio Kiss Kiss Napoli (h/t Football Espana):

“As of today, I haven’t yet heard from Napoli President Aurelio De Laurentiis for Vrsaljko.

“I can say that we have faith in the player, as well as a lengthy contract. I won’t rule out that Napoli could make an approach for the January transfer market.

Video Play Button
Videos you might like

“Obviously, what the player wants will make the difference, but at the moment Vrsaljko is concentrated on his season with Atletico Madrid. In January we’ll talk and see what might happen.”

There is a question as to whether Vrsaljko's prospects would improve much at the Etihad Stadium, however, considering Kyle Walker reigns as first-choice right-back following his £50 million move from Tottenham Hotspur.

The 25-year-old has made only five appearances for Atleti this season and started just two league fixtures, with Juanfran—who is set to turn 33 in January—the much-preferred option on the right side of defence.

ESPN FC's Dermot Corrigan recently suggested Vrsaljko's efforts to leave the Wanda Metropolitano may have even led to slightly more under-handed tactics:

After making a total of 30 appearances for his current club in a little less than 18 months, one could understand why Vrsaljko might be in a hurry to regain the former status he enjoyed at Sassuolo as a valued member.

La Liga writer Simon Harrison also recently mused whether the defender was perhaps deserving of more playing time at his current club:

Walker's presence at City means Napoli may appear the more appealing option for Vrsaljko, particularly considering he's already been a success in Italy's top flight.

City also have former Real Madrid man Danilo as back-up for Walker, but it seems manager Pep Guardiola may want to cover his bases further as talk of a move for Vrsaljko develops.