Thursday, 25 July 2019

‘James interest breaks no pact with Real’ – Atletico president only interested in signing good players

James Rodriguez is fair game for Atletico Madrid, says club president Enrique Cerezo, with there no “pact” with neighbours Real Madrid that would be broken if an approach is made.

The Colombia international playmaker is being linked with a summer switch across the Spanish capital.

Atletico are not the only side to have been credited with interest, with Serie A outfit Napoli also keen on securing the services of a proven talent.

It remains to be seen where James ends up, with there seemingly no future for him at the Santiago Bernabeu, and Cerezo insists he would have no qualms with lodging a bid if Diego Simeone believes the South American would be a useful addition.

The Atletico supremo told Marca, having previously lured Marcos Llorente and Mario Hermoso away from arch-rivals: “There has always been a harmonious relationship with Real Madrid and with all the teams in Spain.

“When we are interested in a player, whoever it may be, we talk, check and in the end we have managed to get them to come to our team, but it doesn't mean that any pact or good harmony with Real Madrid or with Sevilla or Cordoba has been broken.

“It's life; if we are interested in a player because we consider him to be good, we go and ask about him.

“If he plays for one team or another it is something that we don't care about. If it is decided that the player comes to play with us, then even better.”

Pressed further on reported interest in James and the likelihood of a deal being done, Cerezo added: “Right now, I don't know.

“James is a good player and Atletico are always interested in good players, but I can't tell you if he's coming because I don't know.”

Atletico have been busy bolstering their ranks in the current window, while also bidding farewell to Antoine Griezmann.

Highly-rated Portugal international Joao Felix is among those to have been brought on board.

He suffered an untimely knock on his pre-season debut, but is considered to be a hot prospect for the future.

Atletico were able to fend off rival interest from Premier League champions Manchester City to land Felix, with Cerezo considering that to be a positive sign for the Liga giants.

He said: “It shows that the work done in recent years has been very good.

“When players want to come here, when they can play wherever they want, I think it is important for the club and for the fans.”

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