In a rather surprising turn of events, little fancied Atalanta emerged as the second best team in Northern Italy this season, finishing third in the league, their highest ever final position, and qualifying for the Champions League for the first time in their history.
One of the key parts to this success has been Chelsea loanee Mario Pašalić, who made 42 appearances in all competitions, starting half, and contributed with 8 goals and 7 assists, including 5 of Atalanta’s league-leading 77 goals. The 24-year-old serial loanee has been tipped to join La Dea permanently this summer as a result, with the club expected to exercise the €15m buy-option in his loan deal.
However, that may not be a certainty just yet. Previous reports had indicated that Atalanta would want to try to negotiate a lower price, and now, according to Corriere dello Sport (via Sport Witness), they might prefer just to take him on loan again. Despite the windfall of Champions League money, Atalanta do not want to spend beyond their means.
Of course, Chelsea aren’t running a charity so this could prove a complication. Pasalic, who has two years left on his Chelsea contract, has reportedly “welcomed” this possibility, even though he himself has been looking for a way out of the Loan Army and into a more stable arrangement. Maybe he can find that next summer?