Ahead of last night’s Champions League quarterfinal match, Atlético Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak deflected any questions about his future, but did make it clear that he wants to give it some thought after the end of the season. Unfortunately for him and his team, that end arrived faster than expected, as RB Leipzig pulled off the unlikely upset over Diego Simeone’s side to advance to the semifinals.
That’s certainly not going to sit well with Oblak, who had made it clear that his ambitions at age 27 lie beyond knockout round exits and top-four finishes. And while that’s all he would find at Chelsea at the moment as well, our ambitions would definitely align and he would certainly be a crucial piece towards achieving those.
While Atléti remain adamant and confident that the will stay — there are similar rumors every summer after all and his release clause is an eye-watering €120m — the narrative is less convinced, especially after the quotes yesterday. Adding to those is the news that Atlético are about to wrap up the signing of Ivo Grbić from NK Lokomotiva (2nd place in the Croatian first division), another big and tall goalkeeper in the mould of Courtois and Oblak. Grbić, 24 and a former U21 Croatia international who was also linked with Premier League newcomers West Brom, is set to join for €4-8m, according to local reports.
Grbić is (probably) not being targeted as a direct replacement for Oblak with the departure of veteran and hardly ever used backup Antonio Adán. But it’s very easy to spin this as having something to do with Oblak, or at least Oblak-departure insurance.
While it’s tough to see Chelsea drop €120m on Oblak, our goalkeeper situation may yet warrant something drastic along those lines...