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Atlético Mineiro director not confident in keeping Chelsea loanee Nathan

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Difficult operation for a player in demand

Villa Nova v Atletico MG Play the Minas Gerais State Championship With Closed Doors as a Precautionary Measure Against the Coronavirus Photo by Pedro Vilela/Getty Images

Brazil took a little longer than most countries to put a stop to football due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. But better late than never! State championships all over the country have been halted since mid-March, and the national Brazilian Série A is unlikely to start in May, as originally scheduled.

In the meantime, financially fragile teams — so the majority of the football institutions in the country, including those at the top level — are doing what they can to cut costs. As it has been the case in England and the rest of Europe, there is an effort to convince players to cut wages temporarily so clubs do not default by the end of the season.

A few others are able to discuss potential transfers. One of those are Atlético Mineiro, current loan-team of Chelsea attacking midfielder Nathan. They have long been interested in making the 24-year-old a permanent addition to their team, though they keep wanting to do it without any transfer fees in the process. They extended Nathan’s loan deal for another half-season at the beginning of the year, with the new end date (in June this year) coinciding with the expiration date of his Chelsea contract.

Atlético Mineiro executive director Alexandre Mattos reinforced these sentiments in a recent interview with a local Minas Gerais state radio station. However, things might be a touch difficult these days, not only thanks to the pandemic, but the interest of other teams as well, who have clocked on to Nathan’s improving performances.

“Nathan is a player that interests us a lot and we will do whatever is possible to keep him. Problem is, this is not a simple negotiation.

“Chelsea are interested in a definitive transfer, and there are other clubs interested. He is on the rise in the market. Our objective is a renewal [on his current deal], but it is difficult. We will wait for this situation to be cleared up because everything is stopped due to the virus.”

-Alexandre Mattos; source: Rádio Super Notícia via O Tempo

As is often the case with Brazilian clubs in recent years, the only way Atlético can hope to retain Nathan is by convincing Chelsea to do them a favor. Unfortunately for them, Chelsea are rarely interested in doing so...