Last season, Chelsea loanee Mario Pašalić helped Atalanta to a club record third place finish in the Serie A, which meant that the Bergamo-based club also qualified for the Champions League for the first time in their history. Given that windfall of UEFA money, Atalanta were fully expected to take up their €15m buy-option on the key midfielder.
Instead, they managed to work out yet another loan with Chelsea, getting the player back for a much smaller investment. It’s like we’re running a charity over here.
However, Chelsea did extend Pašalić for three more seasons before signing off on the loan, and that is bound to ensure that we eventually collect a fee for the 24-year-old.
And sure enough, given Pašalić’s continued importance at Atalanta, who are once again pushing for a top-four finish while also keeping hope alive of reaching the Champions League knockout rounds, reports are once again popping up of them exercising their buy-option. Here’s one from Tuttosport (via Football Italia), who claim this will only happen at the end of the season, which would make sense.
Maybe this time they’ll actually do it for real?